When one is faced with an enormous amount of work that must be completed in a fixed period of time, a good place to begin is with a project tracking tool or, in this case, three separate project tracking tools. The tool can be as simple or as complicated as you like. The only criterion is that it contains enough information to monitor the many steps/tasks that have to be done, which of them have been completed, what remains to be completed, and how long it will take before they all will be done.
The following is an example of a simple project tracking tool. Feel free to use it or to develop one of your own making.
- Column 1 should contain a list of each individual step in the project. In some cases, the list may need to include sub-tasks for a given step. It is always better to include every possible step, no matter how small it might seem, so that things are not forgotten. It is also helpful to record challenges, reminders, problems, etc., as they arise so that you will remember to come back and address them.
- Column 2 should indicate the date on which you should start working on that step if you are to finish the entire task on time. You may need to revise your original starting dates in the earlier steps if, when you get to the final steps, you find that you have run out of time.
- Column 3 should indicate the date on which you expect to complete that step in the project. Here again, you may need to make adjustments if you find that you are likely to run out of time before you have completed all of the steps.
- Column 4 is the most satisfying column. It is the one into which you put an “X” whenever a particular step has been completed. The goal is to have entered an “X” for all of the steps sufficiently in advance of the due date so that you will have time to reflect on the completed document before it must be submitted.
Here is an example:
Prepare and submit a project tracking tool for each of the three tasks – your portfolio presentation, submission of your Research and Practice Portfolio, and preparation of the report of your applied classroom-based research project. It is important that you include all three projects in one master document. The tool should show your progress to date on each of the three tasks.
You can use this template to get started or create something of your own.