- Ryan Hogue
Attacking a Project
One of my favorite things to think about when writing a blog is things I would tell my younger self. We’ve all thought about how things would have been different if we knew then what we know now. In reality that ignorance probably led us to what we are today but if someone could have saved me from a couple mistakes or made things a little easier I would have been extremely appreciative. So with that in mind one of the main things that would have helped me when I was younger is my approach for attacking projects. I have five steps that I go through every time I attack a project of any kind. From a school paper, a work project or even a home renovation and everything in between. When I was younger projects went one of two ways. Either I didn’t know how to prepare and spent way more time than necessary to have a good result or I didn’t feel like I did as well of a job as I could have. Through trials and tribulations sometime around the end of college I found my perfect system. It’s how I attack every work and home project. It’s not the quickest method but there is no wasted time and it gives me the best results consistently. I’m not saying this is exactly what you need but it will provide a great rough blueprint that you can customise around you to perfection.
Submerse yourself in knowledge- This is the first and most important step. The more you know about your project the smoother the process will go. If you’re writing a paper you will have significantly less writers block if you know the topic inside and out. Same thing with a presentation. I get nervous in front of groups and while I can’t eliminate the nerves completely. Knowing what I’m presenting thoroughly gets rid of most of the nerves and helps avoid any awkward pauses or stoppages in your presentation. If doing a home project this helps make the process as efficient as possible and avoid money and time costing mistakes. With the help of the internet and Youtube especially you can easily find numerous information sources on any topic and become an expert in no time.
Plan course of action- Nearly just as important is creating a clear and detailed plan of attack. If you are sensing a trend you're right, preparation is the key to a successful project. If you are knowledgeable with a planned course of action the process becomes so much easier. If you are working on a paper or presentation a detailed outline will make the next steps go so much quicker. For projects this again will lead to a smoother process with so much fewer mistakes.
Rough draft/Test action- This is where you put all your knowledge and preparation to work. If you're writing a paper or presentation don’t worry about mistakes or technical errors. Just get everything in your head and put it on paper. Don’t stop to fix or change things. Things can be rearranged and taken out/added later. If your presentation or paper has a minimum word count or minimum time you will probably realize you have far surpassed that and that’s exactly what you want. Nothing is worse or more obvious than when you lack the minimum information and have to add fluff and filler. If you’re doing a home project this is where you do draw or sketch the blueprints/final project and if possible to any test runs. If you’re painting, paint a small section. If you’re building something a small model will give you a great preview.
Review/Fresh Eyes- This is where you check for mistakes and clean everything up. If you’re doing a paper/presentation like I said you have more than enough information. Review your rough draft and have a couple of trusted and respected people look it over and give their opinion. Using what you learned from them and your own feelings go back and fix any mistakes, add or remove anything you deem fit and then decide the order you want it. If you’re attacking a project go over the blueprints and double check everything. Get someone else or a couple other people to look it over and make sure you’re not overlooking anything. Finalize your plans and measurements and your course of action.
Finish- By this part your paper or presentation is nearly complete. Now you’re just cleaning up any mistakes and putting the finishing touches on it. Make sure it covers everything you need and is clear. If you’re doing a project this is where you commit and take action. All your planning will make this so much smoother and save you from costly mistakes. Follow your plans as you drew them up and you’ll end up with a beautiful finished product exactly like you planned.