Finally, I figured how I can do so many stuff and have a laser focus on each thing even if they are different. This is something that really changed the game and helped me to finish the product I was working on and actually launch it (see my previous post on it).
This post is the continuation of one of the previous post that you can read here. If you don’t want to read all the details then the short version is that I used to try year resolutions with many stuff in a list for each year. Something worked out for me, but most of the stuff was simply forgotten in the second part of a year. Last month I decided to decrease a period of time in which I’ll be achieving something. I took a month as a unit of time and I already have the results.
I always wanted to make and launch a digital product. So it will work independently, let’s say, while I’m sleeping and change lives for the best. I had one idea and slightly working prototype that roughly worked just for me for several months, but last month I decided that I’ll develop it to a MVP (minimum viable product) and launch publicly. As of the previous post, you can see that I did it. Now, I’ll tell you my experience and struggles I had on the way of accomplishing it.
This month was amazingly productive. I shipped no matter what and some of the principles helped me. First of all, I looked at the project and goal clearly, evaluated if I can do it during 1 month. After that, I used reverse engineering principle.
I split the goal into milestones and milestones to tasks that you can simply start doing right away. The one thing that I don’t recommend you to do is to set a strict deadline for each task. Moreover, don’t even go for tasks if it sounds boring to you. Just make a list of things you need to do to achieve a certain goal. Basically, my tasks looked like a checklist without dates, priorities or something like that.
Since I’m a visual person I needed something to see visually my plans and how was that working with such time span as the month. So, I used Trello and slightly changed the board I’ve been using for this year for pretty much everything I do. I’ll show you schematically how I organized my board including this goal for the month.
Basically, my board consists of columns with projects I’m focusing on. The column that named “Year” serve for more like visionary goals and it consists of cards with months (i.e. September, October, November…). Each card in the “Year” column has a checklist of things that would be good to accomplish during the month, but this is not something that clear how to do right away. That’s why I have “Month” column with monthly resolutions and ongoing tasks that I need to do during the month. Next one is “Week” column that consists of more simple cards. Basically, something that easy to start doing right away, but of course I can’t do 10-20 tasks a day. So I have a ToDo column that with cards I can do right away or just during the day.
This board works like this. I have a rough vision for a year, then from there I split it on months and focus on 3 main things there, then a month can be split into weeks. So cards moving and emerging from the left to the right. This schematic screenshot above doesn’t show you what I have at the end on the right side of my board. In two words it’s what was done for a month and then what was done for a year. It helps me to track my progress and see what was done or failed. In the column with stuff that was done for a year I have one card for each month and it just has a summary of each month, similar to monthly status reports.
That’s all sound like a system, but this is what we create ourselves and we shouldn't let it control our process at all.
The purpose of systems, workflows, rules, and principles that we create is to help us do what we do, not making it boring and killing all the fun, as it’s done in corporate environments.
My system helped me to finally add 11 works in the portfolio that actually were idle for years. It’s always a struggle for designers to update their portfolio. What else? It helped me to make the amount of money I needed to cover expenses and pay my bills. Finally, I wanted to create a digital product for the past a couple of years and this monthly resolution thing helped to make it real in the previous month. So, yeah, I could beat my perfectionist and created a product that is good enough for a public launch and I did it on time.
I believe I’ll be polishing this system and improving it, but this is something that good enough to share. So I hope it will help or inspire you to build your own system to become more productive and spend time more effectively without any frustrations and unfocused state.