When I’m planning a project, I like to see it all laid out in front of me. I like creating lists, scheduling it, and then crossing it off my list – done!
There are a number of tools you can use to plan your project and keep track of where you’re up to, and cross off tasks as you get them done. These tools don’t have to be complicated software. Thankfully there are paper-based and some simple software options (with handy apps) available that you can use instead.
At a really simple level, a notebook or diary can help you track your project. You can use post-its, index cards, or pieces of paper to do the initial planning and then transfer your final list to a notebook and schedule project time into your diary.
I like writing things out because I seem to remember things better. I also like to see the schedule laid out in front of me so I can plan around potentially competing priorities. So for me, a diary of action items where I’ve allocated time works a treat. I can plan on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis all the things I have and where I need to be!
When it comes to planning steps and timelines for a specific project, I like to work with software. In the past, I’ve worked with Microsoft Office Outlook using the task list to manage ongoing events and to populate my Microsoft Outlook Calendar, and Excel to map tasks against a timeline, using the columns and rows to make a grid. Both these options enable me to see a full picture of tasks and potential timelines in a big picture. If you’re familiar with this software and don’t want to try anything new, I would suggest having a play with one or both of these to see if they suit your needs. I use Excel to map my Communications Plans, map out my subjects for my university degree, and workshop delivery plans. This way I can use colours to differentiate between aspects of the business or planning processes, which makes it easy to see where I’m up to.
Another option now available is project planning software such as Asana, Trello, Monday, or Microsoft Planner. While I’ve seen online advertisements for all of these, I’m personally most familiar with Asana as I use it for all my projects whether it’s milestones in a study course I’m completing, annual business plans, or a specific project such as developing a training course. Asana comes with an app for my iPhone which means I can track my tasks, subtasks, due dates, and also that lovely part of checking things off my list! (By the way, I’m not an affiliate for Asana – I just enjoy using it). One of my friends uses Microsoft Planner – and while she’s tried Asana says that Microsoft Planner just fits better with how her brain works. Many of these options have free trials or free plans, so why not have a play and see what works for you!
Do you have a preferred project planning tool? I’d love to hear about it and why you like it! Leave your comments in the space below.
Have a great week.
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