When to put a project aside

By | Aug 7, 2008

If you’re like me, in addition to all the little day to day duties that take up your time, you will also have big time-consuming, thought provoking projects to add some leaven to your day.  How do you manage those?  Do you set aside time and power through them, or work on them as time permits, a little here, a little there?  For the most part it will depend on your work style.  Some personalities work better in the prior manner and some better in the latter.

However, we all get to a point in projects where we’ve been working on it to the point that our brains hurt and we stop being able to work efficiently.  This is especially true for those who like to just power through big projects.  At that point, it’s tempting to just keep working with it.  You can see the end in site, and you just want to get it finished.  That can be a mistake, though.

When you become so tired, when your brain starts to get foggy, is when you start to make mistakes, sometimes glaring ones.  You know the type, the ones you look back on later and wonder how in blue blazes you could possibly have missed that.  The kind that makes the boss wonder just where your head was.

And, of course, we know where your brain was.  It was sitting there exhausted because you asked too much of it.  When you get to that point in a project, where you’ve been working on it non-stop and your brain is just sodden, that’s a good time to take a break.  Put the project aside and take up another task, preferably one less strenuous.  Do your filing, make up labels, stuff envelopes.  Let your brain recover for a bit.  Then take the project back up with a fresh brain.

When you’re planning the time needed to complete a project, remember to include some down time.  It could make all the difference in the world to the success of a project.

Later, I’ll talk about Project Planning

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