Successful Project Planning

Planning is the key to success of any project, be it applying for jobs or just cooking dinner. There are any number of great bound planners out there. I personally love inkWELL PRESS and Powersheets. Sometimes, though, you just need a quick and easy solution that WORKS.

Use our PRINTABLE PROJECT PLANNER for successful projects

What is a successful project? One that you finish. Double points for being on time and under budget. The key is estimating times and scheduling everything.

If the schedule changes, just print a new sheet and revise. Then use that info to plan better next time.

This is the exact system we use for all of our projects

The major steps are:

  1. IDENTIFY - Name and describe your project
  2. STEPS - Break it down into a few major steps
  3. TASKS - List all the steps required to complete each chunk
  4. ESTIMATE - Assign price and time estimates to each step
  5. SCHEDULE - Put every task on the calendar
  6. TRACK - Check off each step as it is completed
  7. RECORD - Note actual costs
  8. REVIEW - Compare estimate against actual costs at the end


The first step is to fill in the Project Planner. Give your project a name (for us it is usually the site address, but for you, it might be a room in your house or any other project, such as refinishing a piece of furniture) and describe what you will do.


Next, break the project down into the major steps involved. For a renovation project that might be 1 - Demo, 2 - Framing, 3 - Plumbing, 4 - Finish materials. Just the basics. this planner page has space for 5 main steps and 5 tasks per step. If you need more, feel free to print another sheet!

Under the name for each step there is a box with room for supplies, or to delegate your steps or tasks to different people. This can also be used for a deadline or sketch. 


After you have your major steps filled in on the left, break each big step into its component pieces on the right. So, Plumbing might be: Drill trench to new toilet location, lay pipe, rough inspection, set commode, final inspection (after floor lay). 


It's overwhelming to try to create time and budget estimates when you are staring down a whole big project. It becomes much easier once the project is broken down into its' component pieces. It's ok to guess! Because you are tracking this, your guesses will just keep getting better. 


This is the secret sauce. This is what turns the dream into the plan. Since you have already assigned a time estimate to each task, it should be fairly simple at this point to print off a weekly or monthly calendar and assign a day or time to each individual task. Some tasks may overlap, and some may need to be completed before the next step can start. You can easily see all of that once it is on the calendar. 

The key to a successful plan is scheduling everything.

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Each weekday in the weekly calendar has 3 large sections and one smaller section. These can be used for morning, afternoon, and evening or to track 3 separate projects or people at once. The smaller section to the right can be used as a recap, or a supplies list, or to track proposals. 


This part is fun. Just check each item off as it is completed - this way you will know just how much more there is to do, and see how far you have come!


This part is so important! Channel your inner bookkeeper and write down the actual price and/ or time for everything. 


This is the final reckoning. How accurate were your predictions? Did you in fact finish your project? Would it be fun to start another one? Great! Sign up below for our totally free Project Planning Kit.

After you sign up below and confirm your email you will get a PDF with all three sheets pictured, which can be printed on standard 8.5" x 11" paper. I like to use a 3-hole punch and put them in my project binder.