A lot can happen in a year.
Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking that our big, creative dream projects will take forever to complete. And guess what this kind of thinking does: It stops us before we even get a chance to start.
For the last 11 years of my life, I have taken on at least one big, creative dream project each year so I know, firsthand, they can successfully be brought across the finish line in the course of 12-months (or at the very least, you can have a strong, solid working draft completed in that time.)
If you haven't already watched the 3-Part video series on "How To Complete Your Big, Creative Dream Project In A Year," you can find it here.
As a snapshot of what you'll find in the series, here are the 9 "Doable" Steps to completing your big, creative dream project in 12-months. (Also, here you can grab a free copy of these steps to keep handy for yourself, as you work your way through the year.)
STEP 1: TANTRUM
Tantrum it out. Let the doubt, fear & skepticism all have the opportunity to be heard. Identify the reasons that it may feel impossible to not only take on your creative dream project, but to bring it across the finish line in a year. By “tantruming” over why this won’t work, we are allowing the doubt to be acknowledged (and hopefully a little tuckered out) so that we can move into action.
STEP 2: PINPOINT
Pinpoint your project. A great way to do this is by asking yourself, “What project would feel really incredible to complete by this time next year?” Once you’ve got it, give it a title. Next, take that title along with today’s date & today’s date one year from now and write it down. Put it some place that you can see it every. single. day.
STEP 3: BUBBLE
Let it bubble in your mind. Let your project fill your imagination, now, with a 12-month frame around it. Really start to picture your project with an end point in sight. Taking a few days to let your project simmer in your mind, we will use the material of what comes out of this bubbling process, next.
STEP 4: BREAKDOWN
Break it down. We’re going macro to micro here. This is where we take what’s been bubbling and begin to break it into small, doable tasks. You’ll need a space to write these down. You can do it electronically, but I recommend starting a fresh notebook devoted solely to your project. Continue the breakdown until each to-do task is bite-sized enough to be accomplished in an hour or less.
STEP 5: DIVVY
Divvy it up. Take your breakdown and divide these tasks over the next 12-months. We’ll actually stick them on a calendar in our next step, but for now, just divvy them into twelve parts (representing each month.) Twelve piles, so to speak. Try doing this by giving yourself twelve separate pages in your notebook. For busy months, divvy less to that ‘pile.’
STEP 6: SCHEDULE
Scheduling is vital. Don’t skip this. In fact, all the steps up till now can’t do a thing unless you do this step. Schedule in time to work. Put it on your calendar now. Take a calendar for the next twelve months and identify your open times for working sessions (what I call “Creative Burst Sessions.”) Get them penciled in now, as best you can, even if you need to change them, later.
STEP 7: ANCHOR
Get Anchored. As you are moving from month-to-month, anchor yourself. At the top of every month give yourself time to refresh on your to-do tasks for that month. It may require adjusting some things as tasks get added or subtracted, based on what was completed during the previous month. Take this time to find your footing and feel focused.
STEP 8: CREATE
Just as it says. Create. This is where we actually get to engage intimately with our craft. Let’s be real. The hardest part about doing our creative work is figuring out how to start and where to go next. With the previous 7 steps, congratulations, you’ve already done that leg work! So get creating and put your talents, skill sets, training & passion to good use.
STEP 9: CELEBRATE
Stop to celebrate. Really take the time to bask in your accomplishment. This was a step I skipped for years and it was a drastic mistake because it left me feeling like I was engaged in one, long never ending project. (Nothing can lead to burnout, faster than that!) Take celebration seriously. Think about it. You’ve brought a new, creative project into the world that wasn’t here 12-months ago. Honor your achievement by celebrating. This is definitely the step where you can share it with others, if you would like. Really take the time to enjoy all the work you completed. And once you've thoroughly marked your work by celebrating it, this is when you can begin deciding what your next big, creative dream project can be!
If you are ready to transform your procrastination from inaction into traction, check out The Procrastination System.
"When we change our relationship to procrastination, we change everything."
-THE PROCRASTINATION SYSTEM