Manage Your Time Wisely by Breaking Out the Detail

Lt Updated: Jun 6, 2012
A big project can quickly become overwhelming without proper planning. Here’s why breaking it down into smaller tks can save you time and .

HourglassToo many times we dive into tks that are actually rather large without really thinking through how we can best get from point A to point B.  Our first thought is, “This can be that hard…” so we just jump right in.  Reality – sometimes days or weeks later – tells us that w a bad choice to make.  H this ever happened to you?  Have you taken on a tk or managed a large customer project thinking you could “wing it” only to find you should have done more “planning” before you ever started ‘working’?

The idea I’m discussing is the concept of breaking big tks or projects into more manageable detailed tks in order to keep your self on tk, on time, on track and on budget.  Otherwise disorganization can takeover well frustration. And that can be not just your frustration but the frustration of your co-workers, employees, and unfortunately your customer.

Lets consider the typical project or work tk. Is time unlimited? Are timeframes open ended?  Have you ever heard a customer, “Take long you need” when discussing the effort to complete something you’ve promised to do for them?  I don’t think I’ve ever heard those words.  In fact, depending on what business you’re in, they likely wanted it yesterday even though they just came to you today or you just finalized the contract today.  out, because those are the customers that may never be satisfied, but that is a topic for another article.

I’m a small business owner – and entrepreneur like most or all of our readers here.  But at the core of that I am a project manager well – a tk manager to some degree.  So I tend to try to look at big tks projects – and how can we break this work into smaller, meaningful, and manageable tks that we can accomplish along the way to the final finished tk. Because, believe me, you’ll want those small victories, those smaller completed tks to not only guide you on the path to finishing the overall work but also accomplishments to motivate you to keep going and keep focused on the end goals of this work or project.

How do you do that?  Well, eier than you think. I’m used to using something detailed for big projects like Microsoft Project, but that’s overkill for what we need to manage our tks on projects for our customers small business owners. A simple spreadsheet will usually do the trick.  Look at the overall project – maybe something like cre a business plan for a client.  That’s one tk that may take you say, 40 , to complete for  your client.  But not one tk. In reality a series of smaller tks that you can track.  What goes into cring the business plan?  Well, likely tks such

There’s probably more to it than this, but each of these are nificant tks within the crion of a business plan.  And each of these would also have a likely review and approval process with your client that you’re putting the business plan together for. 


You can see quickly how if you don’t cre a work breakdown structure with smaller tks you can eily flounder and get off track while you’re trying to accomplish the only real goal you do have documented…the crion of a business plan.  Breaking that work – and estimating an effort and due date for those broken down tks – helps to keep you more focused and on track and definitely forces you to use your time more wisely on the projects you take on for your customers.

Brad Egeland is a Business Solution er and IT/PM consultant and author of A Real World Project Manager’s Guide to the Successful Project. He h over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Crive , Gaming and ity, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny L Veg, NV. Visit Brad’s site at