Project Manage Your Life in 2024
By Jazman Patterson, Host ofThe Beyond Ordinary Show
Currently, I’m taking a project management certification course, and, as it typically happens when I’m learning, my mind is connecting the dots from the course content to all aspects of my life. This made me wonder, what if I saw myself as a project? How can we use project management in our own lives to get better and bebeyond ordinary?
What is Project Management?
Simply put, project management is initiating, planning, executing, and closing a project. Yes, very simply put. There are many methods to managing projects effectively, and there’s several factors to be aware of, but for the sake of this post, project management just means identifying a need or goal then creating a project to address the problem and create a solution.
Initiating the Project
So it’s the New Year: a perfect time to reflect and establish goals for the next 12 months. We even get an extra day for leap year! Now, as with typical goal setting, it’s important to break long term goals into smaller, easier to conquer steps. As you’re thinking about project managing your life, reflect on your previous year. What went well and what did not? How would you like to improve in 2024? From these questions you can form goals and objectives to accomplish this year.
Now, some of us may be a mess. Maybe there’s A LOT you want to fix. Working on everything at once can be overwhelming. Try brainstorming what you’d like to improve then prioritizing tasks. Could you work on everything at once? Of course. Habit trackers are a great way to make sure that’s happening. What habits do you need to do daily or weekly to make progress in becoming thebeyond ordinary person you were born to be? By thinking of how we want to be, we can compare and contrast the current version of ourselves to know what action steps we need to habitually take to get even better.
But even if you decide to work on everything at once, there’s still the opportunity to prioritize an area, skill, or objective. Let’s say you want to work on eating better, working out routinely, flossing, and reading more. All of those things are proven to improve your life, but juggling all of those new habits may be daunting. Use a habit tracker to track your progress for each task, but project manage the one that means the most to you in the meantime.
Think of this like the debt snowball method. Even if you’re focused on putting all of your extra funds into paying off your debt with the highest interest, you still have to pay your other bills. Once you’ve fully taken care of one debt though, you can put your extra money into paying off another.
For example, let’s say you want to really hone in on eating better. Great, let’s initiate that project! What resources do you have? What’s your budget? Who can help you? And, most importantly, why does this matter to you?
Identifying resources, defining clear goals, and understanding the importance of this new project will greatly increase the chances of you following through and being successful.
Make a Plan
Next, you must make a plan. Planning involves setting a schedule, determining roles and responsibilities for anyone involved, communicating plans, and planning for change. Who’s on your team who can help you accomplish your goal? It may be your mom, your partner, or even Hello Fresh. We need teams in our life to help us when we’re down and hold us accountable. Put a great team together to help you with your goals, and success will follow.
You’ll also need to plan for some turbulence. We all know that feeling–you have a fridge full of fresh groceries at home, but you’re justnot in the mood to cook. Could discipline get you through this? Yes, but so could a resource that you planned in advance for moments like this. No one is perfect. We need to plan for moments of weakness, or holidays, or sickness upfront so that we know what to turn to when we need help, and so that we don’t carry the guilt of a slip.
Oh, and make sure you set milestones and deadlines. These should align with your overall objective, and your action items (tasks) should each get you closer to hitting that end goal.
Execute the Plan
Now the fun part: it’s time to execute. In this step, you follow through on the plan you created. It’s important that we actually do the work that’s necessary to be where we want to be in life. Things don’t just happen willy nilly–we have to execute.
As you’re working, monitor your progress and make adjustments as necessary. It’s okay if you need to make changes along the way to make sure you’ll accomplish what you need to do. The most important thing is don’t quit! Check in with your accountability partners, and make sure you’re accomplishing your smaller targets on the way to your bigger goal.
Finally, Close the Project
While this is the final step in a typical project management cycle, you probably aren’t going to “close” yourself. But you should take a moment when you’ve hit your end goal to celebrate your success and thank the people who helped you reach your goal. This is a wonderful opportunity to reflect and learn on your process. Make notes about what worked and what didn’t work along the way. And, of course, be proud of yourself. You did it!
Now, because we’re talking about a living, breathing person (you!), obviously you’re going to repeat the cycle for another one of your big goals for 2024. At this point, you’ve developed great habits for the skill you’ve just worked on, so you can track those habits with the other action items that you’re subtly working on while you initiate a new self-improvement project with one of your other goals. By using this method to project manage ourselves in the New Year, we can get a little better each day, month, or season. And each improvement–big or small–helps us get closer to living abeyond ordinary life.