A Project Vs A Task — Why knowing the difference will make you more productive

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Do you ever feel like you can never get through your full list of to-do’s? Do you find yourself moving the same item over from day to day and feeling discouraged about doing so?

It’s very possible this is because you are treating a project as a task and making a project an action item on your to-do list, when you should be breaking that project down into actionable steps. Don’t worry this is very common and easily can be fixed.

Here’s how it breaks down..

A project has a lot of steps to get it accomplished — these steps are called tasks. A task is one single action item that needs to be done — usually in one session.

Many times we are quick to write projects down onto our to-do list for the day along with other tasks without realizing that the two are totally different.

For example, “Redo Website” would be considered a Project. I wouldn’t recommend penciling this in under one days to-do list. This is a project that can be broken down into smaller tasks and will make life a lot less overwhelming once it’s broken down. Instead of putting this on one day, it could be broken down like this for example:

  • Write home page copy

  • Write about copy

  • Write services copy

  • Upload new images

By breaking things down into tasks, you can easily place these onto your calendar and have a better workflow for getting the overall project done. Depending on your schedule, you can get this done in two days or even two weeks. Breaking it down and looking at the tasks involved will help you make the best judgement for an estimated completion date. I think this is way better than having “Redo Website” written on my to-do list for a few weeks straight and feeling discouraged about not completing my to-do lists.

Another way to break down a Project into tasks is by batching similar action items together to get them done quicker. Task batching is a time management system which increases productivity and concentration by keeping your focus on the same type of task.

For example, let’s say your project is to create an Instagram Content Calendar for the next 3 weeks. Within a project like this, it’s common for people to try to plan each day completely before moving on to the next day.

An example of this would be..

  • Create caption, hashtags and image for Monday, then schedule

  • Create caption, hashtags and image for Tuesday, then schedule

  • Create caption, hashtags and image for Wednesday, then schedule

.. and so on. By doing it this way, you’ll actually spend more time on the project because your brain is shifting gears from writing to designing and it could slow you down after a while.

The more efficient way to tackle this would be to Batch Tasks like this for example:

  • Write all captions

  • Create a hashtag list related to the content

  • Photograph images

  • Schedule all posts

By staying within the same mindset rather than switching between them all, you’ll be more focused and able to power through the project more quickly. Batching tasks is very common and a great time saving workflow. Take a look at what types of projects you have for the month and plan them out based on their tasks.

Start by outlining each project into tasks that need to be done. Once you have everything laid out from start to finish, look at the tasks and see which items you can batch together. It’s common to have two different projects that both require similar types of work.

For example, you can batch design tasks for each project into a day and you can batch writing tasks for each project into another day. The key to batching is to stay within the same mindset so you’re more efficient at accomplishing the overall project.

Here are some recommendations for items to batch:

  • Graphic design

  • Email correspondence

  • Writing

  • Scheduling social media

  • Video editing

  • Photoshoots

  • Podcast recording

  • Creating content outlines (for blogs, videos, podcasts)

  • Meetings

This list can go on and on but hopefully this is a good starting point. What are some other tasks that you batch together?