It seems that there’s nothing more rewarding or frustrating than completing a weighty project. However, this task can and must be done on time. In many cases people feel overwhelmed or incompetent in bringing a big project together from start to finish. If this is your challenge, rest assured it can be done with expedience and excellence. The secret is simple, create a schedule that keeps you on track to finishing the project. To do so, utilize the following three tips.

Create SMART Goals
This is probably the most surefire path to success in perfecting your project schedule. The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Time-Specific. Your project schedule should conform to each of these objectives. For example, it should outline a specific deadline for each component of the project. If you’re completing a book and commit to finishing the first half “before December,” your goal isn’t SMART. Make it more specific by wording your project schedule thus: “I will complete the first half of my manuscript by November 31st. To accomplish this goal, I will draft one chapter every week and submit four chapters to my editor each month.”

Be Accountable
One of the reasons people fail to stick to their project schedule is because they are not accountable to anyone. This is a big problem whether it’s an important work project with multiple facets or just a weight loss goal. One of the most simple is being accountable to your boss, which many people already are. But if you aren’t, bring the fact that you’re completing a project to his or her attention and state your deadline out loud. In so doing, you’ll feel obliged to finish in a timely fashion or risk appearing unorganized.

Create Space
Typically, big projects involve a lot of files and piles of paper. It’s important for you to allocate specific space for your things. Create an organized storage system where all the material relevant to the project will be readily available for your use. Your storage system could involve anything from color-coded file folders placed in a cabinet that sits next to your laptop, or an alphabetized online filing system in which the details of your project can be safely stored and quickly accessed so you aren’t inconvenienced during the completion process.

If you’re serious about completing a project in a timely fashion, you should know that you can accomplish your objective. By implementing some or all of the strategies outlined above, you will likely find yourself finishing your project in no time. Good luck!

Brooke Chaplan is a writer and recent graduate of the University of New Mexico. She enjoys blogging about a variety of topics and doing anything outdoors with fitness.