How to break tasks down into milestones?
Actionable tasks are the secret to project management success. Without them, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and even paralyzed by an over-ambitious project goal that you can’t even get started on! But with the right approach, you can break your projects down into manageable tasks that are easy to start, monitor, and stop as you reach important milestones along the way. Here are some tips to make your life easier by breaking down projects into tasks.
- Estimate the time each task will take.
Estimating your time is important for many reasons. First, it ensures that you’re realistic about how long each task will take. Second, it allows you to determine if there are any bottlenecks in your plan (i.e., tasks that require other tasks to be completed before they can move forward). If so, you can either reschedule or recruit additional help. Third, some of your estimates might be off—and that’s okay.
How to Estimate the time each task will take?
To estimate how long it will take you to complete a task, divide the total time needed for a project by how many people are on your team. So if your project needs 24 hours of work and there are 4 members on your team, each person should be responsible for 6 hours of work.
- Track: Grouping tasks into milestones.
For most projects, you should be able to break them down and group tasks together in milestones—giant collections of related action items that can then be broken up into smaller, more manageable tasks. Milestones help you get a sense of what all your project entails and how long it will take you to complete everything. If done properly, they’ll serve as easy-to-follow guidelines for completing your project.
Steps for Breaking tasks down into milestones?
To make your life easier, you can break down projects into tasks. A task is something you do to complete a project (such as creating an outline for your dissertation). A milestone is a point in time when you reach something big (such as completing chapter three of your dissertation).
You can use milestones or tasks depending on what works best for you. The important thing is that it’s something concrete and measurable — if you’re trying to lose weight, rather than just deciding I’ll eat better, set specific goals like cutting out soda or walking at least 10,000 steps per day. One word of caution: breaking things down too much can be counter-productive because when they feel small, people often don’t pay them any attention.
Start By Thinking About Each Task
When you first begin a project, it’s important to take some time to think about each individual task. The more effort you put into defining what needs to be done, and how long it will take, from start to finish—the easier each step of the process will become. Break down your project as much as possible so that you can write out an actionable list of tasks for yourself.
One of the simplest ways to break down large projects into more manageable chunks is with a good old-fashioned checklist. Whenever you find yourself confronted with a lengthy list of things you need to do—whether it’s chores, errands, personal or professional goals—you can turn your long list of tasks into actionable items on a checklist.
Get Rid of Irrelevant Thoughts
As humans, we tend to scatter our time and energy across every project on our plate. And sometimes it works out—other times, not so much. If you’re one of those people who has trouble getting things done on time because you are constantly shifting your focus between unrelated tasks, then use some simple online tools to help get rid of irrelevant thoughts. A great way to do so is with task-management tools like Asana or Trello.
There are literally hundreds of task-management apps out there. You don’t need a Ph.D. in productivity theory to know that technology helps you break down your projects into actionable tasks.
Deal With Overwhelming Tasks Strategically
When you’re faced with overwhelming tasks, break them down into smaller ones. This allows you to take care of these projects one step at a time. Start with something small that has an end point—make that your first task. Once it’s complete, move on to your next task, and so on until you’ve crossed off all your items from your project list.
If you’re trying to get more work done, there are few things more helpful than setting reminders. Put them in your calendar—both daily and long-term—to stay on track. For simple projects, you can even set up specific times when certain tasks should be completed. You may also want to try using reminder apps like Google Calendar, which has an easy snooze function that will text you when it’s time for a task to be completed.
Be Flexible When Things Change
No matter how hard you try, things don’t always go as planned. In fact, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to break down a project into tasks exactly as you had originally planned—and that’s okay. Remember, your ability to adapt is what will help you get ahead in life and in business. Plan for flexibility from beginning to end and set realistic goals for yourself and your team.
Improve Your Focus Throughout the Day
When you do work that requires focus, force yourself to stay there until you’re done. Many of us are guilty of jumping from one task to another without even realizing it. If you want to improve your focus throughout your day, try creating a block schedule for yourself. This will give you time each day where you’re completely focused on one thing.
Increase Productivity By Scheduling Breaks Into your Day
One of my biggest productivity pitfalls is that I often stay productive too long. It’s easy for me to get wrapped up in work and lose track of time, which inevitably leaves me exhausted. To stay healthy—and creative—I have to break down projects into tasks and schedule breaks every few hours. By knowing how much work you need to complete before a deadline, you can better manage your energy and make sure you don’t burn out during any given day or week.
Start at the end and do a brain dump:
This is a popular strategy among college students and other people who need to get a lot of things done in a small amount of time. The idea is that you start at the end and work your way backwards. Write down everything you want or need to do in order. You’ll find it much easier when you’re taking notes if you use some sort of system, like bullet points.
Engage your team to see what you’ve missed
It’s very easy for details and subtleties to get lost when you’re working on a project all by yourself. The best way to break down a big project is in a way that helps your team work together more effectively—and that means understanding your team members’ strengths and weaknesses.
What should each task include?
It’s hard to give a one-size-fits-all list of rules for how tasks should be broken down. Some things, like writing a book or building your own website, may require a detailed step-by-step breakdown. Others, like running an errand or paying a bill, might be better represented with a bulleted list that covers all of your steps at once.
How to properly prioritise tasks?
Another time-management trick that will help you break down projects into tasks is prioritizing your tasks. Instead of focusing on completing everything you want to do, take a moment and think about what really needs to get done—and what can wait. If an item isn’t due for another week, it’s safe (and smart) to move it down your list of priorities. This will help you stay organized without getting overwhelmed.
By breaking projects down into small, manageable tasks, you’ll stay organized and never have to do that dreaded all-nighter ever again. With a task management system in place, you’ll always know what needs doing, and when it needs doing. It sounds simple, but once you implement a solid task management system, your life will be a whole lot easier.