Five Tips for Getting That Stuck Project DONE!

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Five Tips for Getting That Stuck Project DONE!

No matter how organized and productive you are, there always seems to be one project that’s been conceived - maybe even begun - but remains in some state of incomplete limbo. Wouldn’t it be a relief to finally get that stalled project off your plate and up and running?

Here are five tips to help you get the wheels of progress turning and get that project finally completed:

1. Assess the holdup - Where is the project stuck? Why is the project stuck? Knowing the answers to these questions will allow you to see what’s already been accomplished and what still needs to be done. This is an apt time to delegate or outsource the tasks that are hindering completion. It’s also a good opportunity, if you haven’t already, re-evaluate your strategy.

You may well discover that there’s more completed than you thought. In that case, you could still consider one phase of the project successfully finished; the unfinished remainder can become a distinct, sleeker project to be tackled on its own. This approach will give you a sense of satisfaction in what is already accomplished while allowing you to take a more focused look at the parts that held you up in the first place.

2. Envision what the project will look like when completed - Sometimes, when projects are originally conceived, the end result remains a little fuzzy. While that’s okay in certain instances, it could make it difficult to identify the completion criteria in others. If you’re having difficulty feeling done with a particular project, revisit its original goal and articulate the details that will define its completion point.

3. Work backward instead of forward - This initially sounds silly, not to mention impossible but hear me out… Rather than focusing on the beginning phases of a project, envision that it is already a go. Carefully consider what needed to happen (and when) in order for your project to come together.

Consider this: Scheduling a project from beginning to end entails a great number of assumptions as to the amount of time things will take. To override this as a potential hindrance to a rational, attainable schedule, create your timeline starting from your target date. Say your project is slated to launch on a particular date. Working backward from that date, determine when you need to make reservations, arrangements, decisions, commitments, hold meetings and such, so that they can happen in plenty of time and keep you on schedule. It will bring your project timeline into sharper focus because you won’t be “hoping” to be able to accommodate time-sensitive parts of your project - they’ll be already done when you need them. An added bonus of looking at your timeline backward is that it may very likely remind you of steps that may have been skipped if you’d thought of it in terms of beginning to end.

4. Break it down - It’s entirely possible that your stalled project is suffering from a case of overwhelm or “paralysis by analysis.” If just thinking of taking on the project makes you feel like you’re setting off to climb Mt. Everest, it’s time to chop it down into more scalable bits. Break up a complex or large project into multiple smaller ones which can be spread over a longer timeframe. Those smaller wins will energize your future work.

If there are looming concerns or unknowns making your project seem too complicated, attack them one at a time so that they don’t stand in the way of forward momentum. Most roadblocks to progress, you’ll find, happen when you allow worry about potential problems to stop you in your tracks. It’s better to face each obstacle and learn the facts along the way rather than to become intimidated and paralyzed by “what ifs.”

5. Assign/delegate tasks - It may be helpful to remind you that, even as a business owner, you don’t have to do it all yourself. Is it possible that your project is stalled because you, a) don’t have the time; b) don’t have the expertise; c) simply don’t want to take on or complete it? If any one of those is the case, there’s no shame in having an employee take it on or hiring it out elsewhere. If it’s important to you that the project gets “unstuck,” it’s a smart idea to bring others onboard who can and will see it through.

Stalled projects happen; they’re frustrating thorns in our sides that make us feel less productive as business owners. As you can see, sometimes it just takes a little rethinking of the problem to find solutions that will clear the blockage and allow your stuck project to proceed to completion!

How have you jump-started a started a stalled project in your business?

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