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Now that spring is here, I like to clean up the yard, mow the lawn, edge the flowerbeds, and spread mulch. It is important to get everything cleaned up to make the yard look beautiful again while setting the stage for easy upkeep through the summer months. Before I can do any of this, I need to make sure the lawn mower is tuned up, the wheel barrow tire is inflated, and the edger blade is sharp. This is pretty simple stuff that most people can easily do. What is more difficult is using your tools to maintain throughout the season. Not only tools but time and dedication to weed, fertilize, water, and prune.

Have you or someone you know planted a garden but didn’t plan for taking care of it? If not, weeds grow, the plants are stunted or dry up, the fruits fall to the ground or spoil on the branch. Projects can be easy to get started, but without calculating what is needed to maintain the project and finish can get you over your head before you know it.

When preparing for any project, make sure you have all the tools for the job. Take that little bit of extra time to plan, determine all the tools you will need, gather them so that you not only start the project but finish it.

A few years ago I started blogging. My only consideration was to start. I didn’t have a plan, a purpose, or an end goal in mind. I really didn’t know what I needed to be a blogger. I blogged about topics that came to mind. They were scattered and unorganized. Over time I blogged less and less. Eventually I realized that I stopped blogging. What result did I create from this blog experience? Not much of anything that I or anyone else can use. Looking back now I didn’t have a plan or the tools to be a blogger.

For your next project, plan and gather your tools.

  • What result are you shooting for? This is the Stephen Covey habit of “begin with the end in mind”. When I decided to create this blog site I decided that I wanted a blog that people could look forward to and count on. I envisioned how my blog would look and how people would interact with it. I determined the purpose of the blog so that the content is consistent.
  • Plan. List the steps it will take to start and maintain. For several months, I created a simple project plan that listed major tasks I needed to accomplish to set-up and maintain this blog site.
  • Collect your tools. Determine the tools you need to create your results and to continue to create those results. You will probably have some tools but others you will need to get. One tool I needed was a blog hosting service that met my needs. I decided that a free blog site wasn’t going to get the results I planned for. So I subscribed to a professional blog service.
  • Learn how to use new tools. If you haven’t used these tools before, take time to learn how to properly use them. I watched videos and followed tutorials to learn how to use WordPress.
  • Get to work. You can only spend so much time preparing. As soon as you have enough to get started, start. Don’t wait until everything is perfect before you start (this will be a post later). I could have planned forever but my accountably group pressed me to start on April 1 with my first post.
  • Review. Evaluate how successful you are at achieving your original plan. Make refinements and continue with your project.

What project are you preparing to start? What do you need to get started, and what do you need to keep it going? Read other people’s comments or write your own here.