Tackling project drift when blogging

Project drift is something that can happen from time to time, especially if you are running with conflicting priorities or generally just too much on your plate.

In this article I hope to provide some ideas on tackling project drift, especially for bloggers who are likely to be considering new content ideas and posting at frequent points.

Tackling project drift when blogging

Tackling project drift when blogging

Image source: Wikipedia.org

Shifting Sands

There are many metaphors in regards to movement and change in plans. Shifting sands are perhaps the best. It is impossible to make an accurate map of the desert because the sands are always shifting. The image above is of the Taklamakan Desert in China.

 

Setting Milestones

Milestone (aka millstone) dates are a critical element of project planning. They are put in place to drive you to action and hopefully organise and focus divergent tasks that all lead to the end goal.

Setting milestones in not enough unless you review your plan and are alerted to the imminence of said milestones.

You should not get sentimental about laying down plans. You are more than likely going to have to modify them as you go along.

 

What causes the drift?

  1. Being busy can make you forget that you have important milestones to reach
  2. Negative results can make you lose faith in the idea
  3. An urgent problem can shift your priority
  4. Simple Procrastination – Being idle when you have things you can do
  5. Lack of forward planning (a few weeks out) and review (seeing how you did)
  6. Lack of contingency planning (what happens if scenario B occurs)

 

Busy

Everybody gets busy unless they have impeccable planning and follow through. Sometimes you have to make time to do the important things in life. Setting time aside is critical.

 

Negative Results

This is the most common reason why my projects stall. I haven’t found a perfect way to counter this. Rather than looking at it as a setback, why not look at it as a learning experience. The important thing is to report the result of the trial in order to try and learn from what went wrong.

The saying goes: forewarned is forearmed.

On the route to success you are going to have a lot of failure. Being constructive about how you deal with that failure (and how you prevent it in future) is key. At the very least you can turn the fail into some content that may inform someone of the pitfalls and save them the bother. Think of the karma points in the bank!

 

Urgent problems

These occur out of the blue and there is no way around them. Often you should try and work your project ahead of pace to allow for the time when you have some slippage.

Being ahead of the curve is better than being behind it in this instance.

 

Being Idle

This is more a question of motivation. Everybody needs some firing up at some point in their life. You have to remember what the result is for, what your ultimate goal is and how you will be highly satisfied when you have reached the end.

As my father says; you will spend a long time sleeping in the box. You can also imagine that this was said when I was being lazy.

Blogging is commonly a sole activity which later becomes a group activity. The weight of indecision, inaction and lack of momentum rests squarely on your shoulders. Develop some guilt about not doing anything and you will be sent into action.

 

Lack of forward planning

Plans change so you need to update your plans to be realistic with what you can tangibly produce within a given time frame. You should be a good judge of your capability. You should be able to block out those days ahead of time where you know you are occupied.

Being realistic of your forward time is important. Blocking out time to do your activity and sticking to those arrangements is important.

You can also think about how you delegate those tasks if you need to. If you need an assistant or just a third party to help you see that goal in that timeframe then plan them in.

 

Lack of contingency planning

Events don’t always go to plan. As part of your initial review into your project you should take some time to think about contingencies.

A contingency is something you do when something out of the blue happens. You may have heard a contingency plan mentioned in the event of a natural disaster i.e. heading to a safe evacuation zone and having reserves of food and water in place.

With everything you are likely to take on as an experiment, there may be a chance that it will have some negative outcome. You may be able to determine what that outcome might be and think of a way to avoid some of the negative affect.

 

An example may be the following situation:

 

Without a contingency plan

You drive to work along the country route every day because it is quicker.

On the news there is a weather warning, high winds are likely.

You drive the same route you always drive and end up being 5 hours late to work.

 

With a contingency plan

You drive to work along the country route every day because it is quicker.

On the news there is a weather warning, high winds are likely.

You drive the longer route and avoid the fallen oak tree blocking the path which takes several hours to be cleared

 

The importance of monitoring progress

What is apparent is that you need to monitor your progress.

There are two types of planning:

  • Proactive & Reactive

Proactive planning is preventative, you stem off problems before they arise. Reactive planning comes when you have an unexpected problem and need to deal with it before it becomes a terminal problem. Proactive planning when deployed effectively reduces the need to perform reactionary planning as often. In order to be more effective at proactive planning you have to review the outcome of the reactive planning.

 

Recovery Plans

In order to get you back on track, you need to produce a recovery plan. This is a short term plan that aims to get you back to where you needed to get.

If you had a false start, you can always restart the project. Sometimes you get a better start when you have to start again. You know what parts went wrong last time and know what to avoid. Many inventions often have failed prototypes before they were perfected. Pull up your socks and try again.

If you got part way into the project but hit a roadblock, you need to devise a way to overcome it or move around it.

The important thing with a recovery plan is not to be too ambitious. If anything, you want to restrict the scope a tad, to bring the situation more within your control.

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2 Comments Tackling project drift when blogging

    1. Jackson Davies

      Hi Ryan, I agree with you on this because you need a certain passion to push a project forward. You should only consider running multiple projects if you have successfully completed projects in the past and have the confidence to carry off many missions. Jumping from daisy to daisy like a crazed bumblebee is not the way to go. I believe you should commit to one thing and do it well. Hopefully I can practice what I preach!

      Thanks for your comment Ryan, keep it coming! 🙂

      Reply

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