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Planning your next venture or project can seem overwhelming, especially when you don't have a solid process in place for creating a framework for execution. Luckily, there is no better time to begin planning than right now. Here are a few tips for honing your process and helping your next project proceed smoothly.

Set a Definite End Goal (and Good Sub-Goals)

One of the easiest traps to fall into when planning a project is to set goals that are too large, like "finish rolling out my new product," without a series of sub-goals to break the process down to achievable milestones that pass over time. Break larger tasks into smaller goals and set them appropriately on your work timeline to ensure you don't become overwhelmed by a task that is too big.

Make Your Timeline

When planning a release date, it can be helpful to choose a final deadline and then work backwards from there. For example, if planning A 4th quarter roll out, then you may set December 10th as your final deadline. From there, you'd consider your sub-goals and place them early enough on the timeline to be complete. It looks something like this:

You can make your sub goals as small as necessary to ensure you'll get them done. Having tasks as small as "write one page of project proposal" will help you fit the work into your schedule, then you should absolutely go into the depth of detail. Build a system that works for you!

Commit (but Remain Flexible)

Once you set your timeline, you should do your best to stick to those dates and complete the work as scheduled. However, most projects evolve as they progress. After all, you may discover your scope of work was too broad, or that your anticipated work timeline was overly ambitious. If this is the case, don't be afraid to sit down and re-build a timeline that works for you. Proceeding with a changed plan is a better idea than forging ahead with no plan.

Congratulations ARE in Order

Even though it's easy to get caught up in making deadlines, finishing tasks, and taking care of a million tiny details, it's important to celebrate your successes as you go. Every small task you finish brings you one step closer to your ultimate goal. That's worth celebrating! Little victories will help keep you motivated and working toward your goals.

With careful planning, even the largest of projects can find success. Try incorporating these tips into your planning routine the next time you're looking for a change.