Simple Productivity Task Of The Day: Write An Abstract

by Randy Murray on March 17, 2011

Projects of all types share one common characteristic: they have multiple steps. Do this and then do that. Do all of these things at the same time. If you have only one step to perform it isn’t a project — it’s a task.

When you have a project in front of you need to understand more than the separate task steps to successfully complete it: you need to know why you are working on this project and what the ultimate result will be. And often if you do not understand your goals or motivations, it’s easy to become stuck and fail to make progress.

A simple way to build understanding of a project’s goals and the significance of each step or task is to write an abstract. The abstract is not only for the attention-deprived executive. It is a simple and effective way to help yourself and others to understand what you are hoping to accomplish with any project and why the project and steps are important.

Delay and procrastination are often signs that you don’t understand what to do next, that you don’t have enough information, or that you’re unclear about why you’re doing something. Often all that’s needed to get things moving is a simple explanation, a bit more information.

An abstract can do just that. Try this technique for a project that you can’t seem to make progress on: write a single paragraph describing for a general audience what you are attempting to achieve and why it’s important. The abstract is your tool to clarify your thoughts and motivations. And it gives you a chance to pause and ask yourself, “Do I really need to do this?”

If the abstract doesn’t provide enough clarity, you’ll need to review each project step, each task, and verify that each one is required. But often the process of taking a few minutes to write an abstract is enough to help you get moving. A fresh understanding, a reminder of why your project is important, may be enough to help you get things done.

The Simple Productivity Task Of The Day: Write An Abstract by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: