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Top tips for successfully tackling a major project

Space. In a nutshell, that’s what it boils down to. When somebody asks me how I manage to get things done when I have a busy family life, a full-time job and a myriad of other tasks that are vying for my time and attention… There is only one way to answer. Space.

It is important to be able to compartmentalise certain aspects of our lives, and we usually do it quite successfully when it comes down to work vs. home. When there is a personal project, like writing a book for example, then a third compartment is created. You must also learn how to manage your time effectively, so that the other two spaces do not become compromised. How then do we manage to keep three balls in the air?


·        Find a Suitable Third Space

You have a home space and a work space, and normally the two will never meet (trust me, it’s for the best). But you now find that you need a third, for your project. This could be a room in your home, a study if you like. A library is a good place too, though probably not if your project involves angle grinding.


·        Find an Isolated Spot

I am easily distracted, so I personally find that a degree of isolation works best for me. I have a quiet time at home, a few hours of golden peace when nobody else is around during which I will switch everything off that makes a noise and just sit and work. Isolation can be your friend too, especially if, like me, distractions can sometimes be too much.

·        Make Use of Waiting Times

How often have you been kept waiting in a doctor’s office, a bus station or just at home unable to move because the delivery you expected six hours ago still hasn’t shown it’s embarrassed little face? At home, you can just whip out the laptop and do some work while you wait instead of catching up on the Walking Dead (by the way, the dead guy did it – now you don’t have to watch).  Out and about though, things could be trickier. Well, not really; a surprising amount of work can be completed via apps on a smartphone or tablet. My new favourite device is my mini-iPad – big enough from some serious work but small enough to be truly portable.


The point is, make use of the time and space that is already available to you. Prioritisation is a skill that you really do need to master, and it isn’t that hard. A home study is great for long term projects, and it doesn’t need to be costly either.


Whichever way you decide to go with creating your third space, try not to let it take time away from your home space – that is the most vulnerable, and fragile, of the three. Keep an invisible barrier between work and family, otherwise it will only end in tears!

About MS

The author is a freelance consultant with many years experience in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects and managing outsourced project teams.

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