From the perspective of project management, all the work an organization does is divided into two distinct categories:
- Project work that is aimed at making new or improving existing products or processes, gaining knowledge, or creating resources. It is expensive, full of uncertainty, and requires creativity, but is essential for growth and prosperity.
- Operational Activities are daily actions that bring the organization money and create the impact it endeavors to make. In contrast to project work, it can be described as a set of well-known and established practices.
Not only companies, but we as individuals can benefit from this perspective and be more productive.
On a personal level, it translates to the following skills: project management and building habits.
Project Management 101
The objective of project management is to meet all requirements to the given project. This includes project goals, costs, and timeframes.
- Define project goal
- Create a list of all tasks
- Estimate time and resources
- Draft plan and iterate until it feels right
- Execute while tracking progress and budget
- Be ready to adjust your plan at any time
- Reflect and learn from your experience
If you need to keep doing what you have achieved so far, building habits could be just the strategy you want. Habits are automated behaviors that require little conscious effort from us. There are three essential parts to building habits:
Find or create cues that would start the action.
Then I grab my backpack and go for a walk.
Well-thought rewards are key to reinforcing habits. You may choose to arrange a milestone reward, find enjoyment in the moment, or even better both.
When I practiced morning walks for a month, I will reward myself with a reporter's notebook to make capturing thoughts more enjoyable.
While reducing friction seems to be the most common challenge, increasing it may also help to maintain habits.
Now that I've accustomed to going outside, I can treat myself with a nice cute little bottle of water instead.
While being a healthier option, it increases resistance — but not too much to make the whole experience uncomfortable. On the contrary, it adds a bit of challenge and sparks interest.
What about you?
Does this perspective of dividing work into projects and operational activity resonate with you?
I'm curious to learn if you'd like to try it for your next endeavor 😉