How to Manage Any Overwhelming, Large Project

manage a large project


Undertaking a large project can be overwhelming and intimidating. That large project could be a wedding, volunteering with an association, starting a business, or completing a major work assignment.  The size and complexity of the task can paralyze your thinking and prevent you from getting started. Here are some effective strategies to help you manage any overwhelming, large project.


Start with a Clear Plan

The first step in managing any large project is to create a clear and detailed plan with deadlines. Break the project down into smaller, more manageable tasks, and create a timeline for completing each one. Make your timeline visual to help you see the steps along the way to manage anxiety and perfectionism. Work backward from the original deadline to ensure completion ahead of time. This will help you stay organized and focused as you work towards your goal. Use project management tools like Trello, Asana, or a Gantt chart to help you keep track of tasks and deadlines.

Assess obstacles

No project goes along without a glitch. Assessing these challenges early in the project will help you be aware of situations that will arise. Be prepared for needing additional resources to complete the project. The obstacles also include competing projects, changing timelines, and unclear outcomes.

Prioritize Tasks

Not all tasks are equal in the amount of time required, the resources needed, or the placement in the timeline. Prioritize your tasks based on their importance and deadlines. Focus on completing high-priority tasks first, and then move on to less critical ones. This will help you make steady progress and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Early on in a project you have the most energy, enthusiasm, and resources to use. Be sure you are front-loading the most important tasks so make significant progress early in the project.


Break it Down

Breaking the project down into smaller, more manageable tasks is crucial. This makes the project seem less overwhelming and allows you to focus on one task at a time. Divide the project into smaller milestones, and celebrate your achievements as you reach each one. This will help keep you motivated and on track. Use your tracking tool


Use Time Management Techniques

Effective time management is essential when managing a large project. Distraction and complexity come into play in any project. Use techniques like the Pomodoro Technique and time blocking to help you stay focused and productive. Set aside specific blocks of time to work on your project, and eliminate distractions during these times. Regularly monitor your progress. You can identify issues with time management by assessing how long parts of the project are taking and re-evaluating your original plan. You can adjust and adapt accordingly when monitoring regularly.


Collaborate and Delegate Responsibilities

You may have been assigned this project solely, but don’t go it alone. Bring in team members as needed to learn new skills, build energy, and move forward. Delegate tasks to team members or enlist the help of friends and family members if possible. Working as a team not only lightens your workload but also allows you to benefit from the skills and expertise of others. Routinely over-communicate, review resources, and bring together any loose pieces as you work together on the project.


Celebrate Successes

Celebrate the milestones along the way. Each step is an important step so acknowledge this. Treat yourself to a moment of gratulations, a small reward, or a celebration with your team to mark each step as well as the completion of the project. Assess what went well, and what could be improved on to learn best about project management.



4 replies
  1. Seana Turner
    Seana Turner says:

    I love that you talk about strategizing around obstacles ahead of time. This is so smart. Sometimes my great obstacle is myself LOL. Knowing I will resist certain tasks or aspects of the project. Knowing this in advance might help me figure out ways to keep myself from backing out – like involving other people as you say.

    I don’t tend to think about myself and my feelings as obstacles, but they certainly can be.

    Large projects are challenging, so I love that you tackled this topic. I have one I’m thinking about now that seems enormous. I need to get someone else involved who will be impacted and go through these steps!

  2. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    Breaking large projects into smaller, doable steps helps reduce overwhelm. I don’t always detail every single step. I tend to work a section at a time, which makes it more manageable to think about the next several steps I need to complete.

    I also like to use a visual when there are deadlines or deliverables. I use that in conjunction with a project task list.

    I’ve had several larger projects lately. One I finished today—phew! The other I’m still working on, but I have met the initial deadlines.

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