5 Steps to Map Out Your Next Project

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Does event planning send your anxiety level off the charts? Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed if you have a big project to do—whether for work, a volunteer commitment, a home remodel or maybe a family vacation adventure?


Well, you can breathe a sigh of relief because I have the map to travel this path with ease! Putting all the steps down on paper can be time-consuming but will be mind-saving from start to finish. Begin with the big picture in mind, then break the project into small tasks.

  1. Determine the “due” date—when the project must be finished or the event will occur, then work backwards to set milestone completion dates along the way.

  2. Brainstorm everything needed to ensure success on the due date—location, food, people involved, transportation, decorations, reports, etc.

  3. Categorize these items, then write down the steps involved for each—i.e., for a trip you’ll need a place to stay. List everything you’ll need to do to accomplish this task—research options, plan budget, book rooms.

  4. Break the steps into bite-sized chunks—research hotels, research Air B-n-B options, investigate Vacation Rentals by Owner. Set “due dates” for each step.

  5. If others need to be involved--for example, committees for different portions of your volunteer event--make a list of the committee chairs and their contact information. Set dates for when you will expect information to flow between them and you.

Here’s an illustration of how this might look if you’re planning a party. You’ll want people to attend, right? Let’s say your party will be on October 15.

To ensure you have a good crowd:

  • Sept 24: Notify guests of the event—send a quick email or text, or leave a voice mail message

Do you want your invitation to be a little more “official?” Online invitations are easy and efficient—especially for gathering RSVP’s—but you’ll want to allow time to create just the right look for your event. You will also need to have your guests' email addresses handy.

  • Sept 17: Start creating your invite online to avoid a rush to have it ready to email on the 24th.

Is this event more formal, warranting a traditional paper invitation?

More lead time will be needed.

  • Sept 20: Put invitations in the mail

  • Sept 19: Have invitations addressed and stamped

  • Sept 14/15: Hand-write portions of the invitation or envelopes, if needed

  • Sept 13: Have all your supplies on hand—invitations/pens/stamps/guests’ addresses

If you are having invitations printed you will need to allow extra time for the company to complete your order.

  • Sept 1: Notify the printer of your chosen design and place your order

  • Aug 31: Finalize your guest list so you know how many invitations you need

  • Aug 20: Begin shopping for a printer and exploring design options

Now you have a road map to get friends to your party super easily! Apply this technique to each task in your project and you will become a planning rock star!

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