Did you ever have a picture in your mind of the outfit you wanted to buy, but then have to go to several stores before you found it?  Or did you ever have an end goal in mind for a project, but didn’t know how to start in order to get there?  Or worse, have some steps in mind, but can’t visualize the end product?

That’s what happened to me these past several months and in doing so I think I found one way to complete a project that works for me.  (Maybe it won’t help me go clothes shopping anytime soon, but at least I can use it for any other project that I want to work on!)  I had a project in mind to create an email opt-in as a thank you for signing up for my emails.  Unfortunately, like many of my projects, I had an end goal in mind but was procrastinating.  Whether it was because I had too large a to-do list or wanted to watch the Olympics or read other bloggers, it didn’t matter—I was putting it off.  And I have a Master’s Degree in Putting It Off.

But I had an end goal in mind.  I’m the kind of person who needs to visualize it in order to then figure out the steps to get there.  I also needed to slap a deadline on it because I need deadlines to hit.   A deadline works as inspiration for me, even if it means I have to stay up late in order to finish a project.  While I’ve been writing “Create email opt-in” as a project/goal each month for the past three months, I never set a deadline and without a deadline, it fell to the back of the list of things to-do.

But somehow, once I set a deadline (Labor Day—there, I put it out there for all to see) and had a visual in my mind of what I wanted to create, it wasn’t enough this time.  I was still having problems going from my visual to taking the first step or even figuring out the first step.  It was stopping me in my tracks.  I was even starting to wonder if this was the right project to work on until one morning I woke up with an idea (and a visual) of a project planner worksheet.  I drew up it up right away and took notes on how it should flow.

Yes, I know it seems funny to stop focusing on one project in order to focus on another one in order to get the first project done.  Sounds like a new way of procrastinating even to me.  But it is isn’t.  As soon as I created my new project worksheet, I immediately filled it out and I now have a step by step plan for my email opt-in.

Here is How You Can Use It

Because I found this Project Planner Worksheet immediately useful to me, I’ve included it below for you to use.  While it may seem fairly simple, I think having an area to draw out what you are planning is really helpful.  This is a two page document, although you don’t need to use both pages if your project is small or your steps are limited (or you write really small!)  The second page includes instruction on how to use, but I also think it’s fairly straightforward and you can figure it out as you go.  I’d love to know what you think, so please provide your feedback–especially if you find it useful in planning your next project.

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