As busy managers, we’re often so overwhelmed by a mountain of daily tasks that we never get around to starting the projects that will propel our careers and benefit the organization in the long-term.
David Allen, the author of “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity,” believes that many people are paralyzed by inertia as a result of current negative circumstances like the bad economy or a chaotic workplace. He advocates recognizing that being self-starter is a set of behaviors that you can adopt.
These behaviors include getting your ideas out of your head and onto paper. By freeing your mind of everything that needs to be done for your project, you can concentrate on performing the tasks necessary to launch it.
Allen’s project model involves five key stages: defining the purpose of the project, determining what success will look like, brainstorming, organizing, and allocating resources/taking action.
Be systematic about your project by delegating required tasks so that each member of your team is personally accountable for something, and by having frequent status meetings to flag problems and incorporate new developments. A variety of project management tools are available to make managing workflow easier.
If you’re working on your own, you can place a checklist and timeline in your personal calendar. Just be wary of implementing too many fancy organizational systems in exchange for doing real work on your project.
You may want to launch a new initiative but are having trouble thinking of an initial task to get you moving in the right direction. Allen says to start with the basics, which could be as simple as making an insights folder in which you put interesting articles you cut out of magazines or read online. It’s not a bad thing to hold off on the biggest decisions until your thinking has matured.