ENJOYING THE JOURNEY: How to Stay Motivated & Focused Mid-Project

 

There is a certain exhilaration at the beginning of any project or endeavor. The start of a Go Code Colorado project is a leap into the unknown, with the thrill of new beginnings, new friends, and jumping into a creative process with other super smart people. These are all ingredients for a very good time.

“The dream is free. The hustle is sold separately.” – Unknown

When a diverse group of doers and thinkers form a team to build something that has never existed before, they often design an ambitious project. Now your team is mid-project, and there are things to DO and GET DONE. If you find that your energy and focus is starting to fluctuate or (at moments) even fail you, use these tips to keep going and enjoying the journey.


STAYING MOTIVATED:

Remember Your WHY. 

You jumped and wanted to join a team for a reason, and it was a good reason. Go Code Colorado is an incredible opportunity to come together and work on problems outside of your day-to-day, and taking the lead in the worldwide Open Data movement so its potential can be realized can also feel like a bit of a big deal. However, YOU have a REASON why you jumped in, and that reason is personal. Take a moment and visualize that. Next, imagine your goal already achieved. How does it feel? What will accomplishing the goal bring you? Pay attention to how you feel and then write it down so that you can access it quickly when you need a little push to keep going. Share your WHY with your teammates and remind each other often of the team’s WHY.

Enjoy your teammates.

Eat together, drink together. Nerd out. Share playlists when you get together for a work session. Ask each other fun questions like “If you had 1 million dollars for one day and one day only, what would you do or buy?” Go Code Colorado teammates have gone on to become future co-workers and even started companies together. These are your people so go ahead and enjoy them.

Get a good communication rhythm down with your team.

Effective team communication is a catalyst for a smooth workflow. Have regular project progress check-ins. It can help to have one person on your team take responsibility for leading this. Learn how to welcome feedback because it is incredibly important and it can make or break your project.

Get the help you need.

It’s human nature to overestimate your strengths, abilities and work ethic. If you did that it means that you are not a failure, on the contrary, you are probably a bad-ass with a big vision. Speak up early if you may not be able to finish an essential task on time. You will do your team and yourself a huge favor by staying connected and being transparent if you get in the weeds. DO NOT ghost your team.

 

KEEPING YOUR FOCUS:

Anchor onto your GITHUB project outline.

Github was built to help your team plan, execute their work and, most importantly, achieve your GOAL. It can also help your team prioritize tasks and make decisions. The tasks that your team is performing are often highly interdependent.

Create your own “to do” list.

If you have never seen the GitHub app in use before joining a Go Code Colorado team, or if your role on your team is a creative or strategic one, it is possible that you may want or need to create an individual task list. Even if you have a technical dev role, you may be helped by seeing only your own tasks in one place. This may help you to feel more focused and less overwhelmed. If that would help you, go ahead and do it, but be sure that the due dates and benchmarks that you are creating for yourself are aligned with the project goals and the team’s expectations.

Establish a schedule.

This is the most critically important thing that you can do to not only finish tasks on time but also to avoid the beautiful time suck that is your personal life and other realities like your job etc. The success of a maker/coder/designer/builder exists at the intersection of creativity and strategy. Scheduling the time to work on the project is strategic.

Box your time into manageable chunks.

Timeboxing is simply allotting a fixed amount of time for a single task. It’s a time management technique that removes the pressure of focusing for an extended period of time. Likewise, it motivates you to concentrate on the task at hand. You can work in manageable chunks of time, so you’d be able to make progress despite the busyness of your environment. The short time periods sustain the momentum of your productivity. One famous example of time boxing is the Pomodoro® Technique where you work in 25-minute sprints with 5-minute breaks in between.

 

THE FINISH LINE: 

Great creative work shares a common element: devotion. Devotion to the idea, and devotion to the project you’re in charge of helping shape. This devotion magnifies the benefits of positive actions. As you finish work on your Go Code Colorado submission, know that this project and the lasting impact on you is important and consequential. You’ve got this.


Celeste Herron

Owner & Principal Designer at Northern Crown Design + Digital

2018 Go Code Colorado Finalist

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