You know when you get a Big Idea for a project that lights you up and derails your to-do list for the day?
It could be a content series or a whole new business concept.
You might even spend a few hours writing down why you’re qualified to do it and who it will help.
But, inevitably, that fervor dies down and you deem the idea a distraction.
After all, you don’t have the time and money to actually execute it, right?
What if I told you: you can use time and money constraints to your advantage and move forward with your Big Idea in a manageable way …
There’s a common misconception that all the time and money in the world will create the business of your dreams.
Even if those factors help you set up the foundations of your business fairly fast, you still have to build your business.
Endless amounts of time and money don’t exempt you from the question we all face: “What’s next?”
I would argue that obstacles between you and the completion of your idea are actually opportunities to approach the project strategically and sustainably.
Finishing a project quickly doesn’t make it more important or more meaningful. Similarly, building your creation little by little doesn’t make your work less important or less meaningful.
The only disappointing scenario is when you never even start.
What’s practical for you right now?
The good news is, you can make progress on a project without spending hours on it each day.
Taking small steps and moving at a slower pace give you more time to experiment, monitor your results, and make improvements.
You might even find that your Big Idea won’t work for you before you invest a good amount of effort into it. Then, you can switch gears and brainstorm similar projects that might prove more fruitful. In other words, you fail faster.
What’s practical for you right now might be … handling your current job responsibilities while dedicating a few hours each week to your Big Idea.
Keeping a Master List and Monthly List is one way to help you stick with that plan.
Your Master List
Your Master List is an outlet for all that initial momentum you have.
It’s a place to keep track of everything you need and want to accomplish. So, don’t hold back here; jot down any wild ideas and keep adding to the list.
Here’s a sample checklist of items you might need for a new business idea:
You might also find it useful to split your Master List into two sections:
- One-time Tasks, such as setting up your website
- Ongoing Tasks, such as writing a blog post each month
The secret to this process, however, is “forgetting” about your Master List items unless they are on your current Monthly List.
Your Monthly List
This is where the real work happens.
Your current Monthly List will be two to three items you select from your Master List.
I don’t recommend more than two to three tasks if this project is not your full-time focus. Remember, we’re going for “manageable and sustainable,” not “burning the candle at both ends.”
You may have the drive to get a lot more work accomplished immediately, but that isn’t always strategic. If you’ve ever started a new blog with a lot of enthusiasm for a couple months, but then abandon the project, you know what I mean.
Your first Monthly List might include:
- Register your website domain name
- Set up your website with fast, secure hosting
Your second Monthly List might include:
- Choose a business email address
- Find an email service provider
- Add an email opt-in form to your home page
And your third Monthly List might include:
- Take photos for your website
- Write the About page for your website
- Write a blog post
Give each step your undivided attention, as if it’s the only thing you have to do. I’ve called this “tasting the tomato.”
Instead of getting overwhelmed by the magnitude of what you’re trying to achieve, you spend your creative and intellectual energy on the one task in front of you.
Small, manageable steps lead to big progress
For example, if you commit to writing one blog post each month, after six months you’ll have six articles you can use as the foundation for the ebook you want to give away as a free gift for opting in to your email list.
While the task of “write an ebook” may seem daunting when it’s on your Master List, when you look at it as something that will naturally happen if you consistently write one blog post a month, it becomes more achievable.
Items on your Master List also might get completed when you find extra bits of time in your schedule, even if you haven’t added them to your current Monthly list.
That sometimes happens to me, and when I make my next Monthly List, I realize there is an item on my Master List I can already check off. 🙂
Over to you …
When you have a Big Idea, how do you move forward with it?
Let us know your favorite ways to break down a project in the comments below.