We do it to ourselves. We work on projects or activities, we’re very busy and feel productive – only to look up and see that we’re off track or moved in the wrong direction. Here are three tips to help keep you (or get you) back on track.
1. Build gaps into the plan. There will always be delays and distractions. Some of them are good. Plan for these by including white space gaps in the plan. Use these to catch up or get back on track. If you haven’t built space into the plan you’ll need to either move other activities out of the way or renegotiate the deadlines.
2. Kill the scope creep. As we work on projects we naturally find new and interesting things to work on that we believe are relevant, or even essential. Stop and focus on the true goal. Evaluate each element. If it is not essential to the goal the move it to the end of the project. Get to it only if you have time.
3. Renegotiate deadlines. Your stakeholders (e.g., clients) want a good result and generally understand that stuff happens. Keep them informed on the progress and don’t be afraid to negotiate new deadlines or schedules if needed. A discussion up front is far preferable to a surprise later.
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