What is a Project Anyway?

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Remember how when we were younger we had to do science projects? I don’t know what they looked like in your school, but in my elementary school each student was expected to submit a project to the school-wide science fair. Every year like clockwork we would line up in the office to collect our white cardboard presentation boards and then we had two weeks to complete a science project- in whichever way we chose to interpret the task. The only requirement was that we had to use the presentation board.

Looking back on it, I loved how we as students had the freedom to explore our own interests and develop a project based on skills that were unique to us. Some kids loved building models of planes, or making exploding rockets because they loved the hands-on experience of creating. I remember working on a colorful project about how rainbows are created, and how light controls the way we see color. Tell me you’re not surprised.

The problem with such a free-form assignment is that it skews your perception of what a project actually is. I used to feel that as long as I was able to give a specific name to a job ( like designing a brochure for my sister), it wasn’t actually a project, it was more like a to-do. What I didn’t realize was that the term “project” didn’t always have to describe some giant, long-term, complicated task like the science projects we used to do in elementary school. Even a job that might appear small or uncomplicated, like baking a cake for your boss’ birthday, is actually a multi-step process that involves things like choosing a recipe, buying ingredients, and cleaning the kitchen- all before you’ve even started to measure out your ingredients. That’s a project too.

I’m not trying to ruin your life by pointing out that simple tasks might actually take more than one step in order to be completed. What I do encourage is adopting the science fair approach, and keeping an open mind when it comes to defining a project. Any action that requires more than one step, more than one person, or more than one resource is a project, no matter how big or small. It’s up to you, however, to interpret how you carry it out, whether it be erupting volcanoes or coloring rainbows.

KBwB-BFlower-50I’d love to hear more about what a project means to you. Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. Maybe we can trade science fair project ideas. For more tips on managing your workflow, click here.

Not going to lie- I was greatly influenced by David Allen and his GTD methodology when writing this post. I don’t know him at all, but I admire his work, and my thoughts about it are totally my own. For more on what he does, click here. If you’re interested, stay tuned to the blog tomorrow when I’ll be talking about his greatest influence on my workflow! See you then. :)

 

Why Fall is the New Spring

KBB_nothing_can_stop_me_nowAlthough we still have a couple more weeks of summer left (first day of fall is the 22nd, people!) a lot of people consider the arrival of Labor Day weekend to signify the end of summer. For many, this is true: the so-called “back-to-school” season means a lot of changes in lifestyle, at the workplace, in the retail world and sometimes even in the financial sector.

I haven’t been in school for a good few years now, but something about the arrival of September makes me feel as if I’m being given an opportunity to refresh. Recharge. Renew. Although the year is already halfway through, I find September is often my busiest time as I help people take on new projects, and start on a few new ones myself.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the summer. Summer means my birthday, long walks with the dog, and seemingly endless days of sunshine. But I always enjoy the opportunity to get excited about something new, too.

For those of you disappointed about the summer ending, why not take the opportunity to try something new? Press the reset button. For me, I’ll be trying to blog a lot more (something I love, but which I don’t always make the time to do), introduce some new routines in my lifestyle (I’ll be blogging about those a little bit later) and finally, I’ll be spending some time fixing things up around my apartment so I can better enjoy my time inside when the weather gets colder.

It doesn’t have to be a big project to get you going. Today, I felt refreshed and renewed by giving my hardwood floors a good deep clean to get rid of all the dirt and grime my dog and I have tracked in from the park and the beach. All the scrubbing started to get the wheels turning as I thought of a few cleaning tasks that will give my home that extra sparkle after being neglected in favor of my patio all summer.

So I’m officially declaring that fall is the new spring! Don’t wait until 2015 to clean your apartment, start that new project, organize your life, etc. Start now! Enjoy the feeling of productivity and organization so the winter months ahead can bring time to relax, to rejoice in family and friends, and maybe even a good cup of hot chocolate. (Too soon?)

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What do you have planned for the month of September? Comment below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!