How to Manage a Big Scary Project

Studio 42 Workspaces   •   July 29, 2020

Have you been keeping yourself “busy” so you don’t have to tackle that big project? A project that makes you feel so overwhelmed, you want to bury your head in the sand…

At some point, you will have to stop running and get it done.

In this post, I’ll share tips on how to manage that big, scary personal or business project, such as:

  • Developing a new product
  • Creating your business website
  • Writing a book
  • Organising an event
  • Setting up an online course
  • Organising a marketing campaign
  • Getting your taxes done… and more

First, let me share my story.

A few years ago, I reached a point in my business when I had to redesign my website. My old website was created with technology that was no longer supported, so I couldn’t put it off any more.

I was a single parent and my livelihood depended on it – I had to make it work.

I felt totally overwhelmed – my website had over 200 pages and the new technology seemed so daunting.

I lost a lot of sleep until I spoke to a friend and that’s when everything changes. He suggested the following:

1. Break the project into bitesize pieces

Start by planning all the steps required to complete the project, including the time it will take to complete each part. Take your time with this, as it will save you a lot of backtracking.

Tackle only one item at a time until it’s done… then move onto the next item on the list. Don’t get distracted with other things or you will lose momentum.

Alternatively you can set aside 1/2 hour or 1 hour per day or week to work on the project. That way you won’t get overwhelmed, especially if you are a sole trader and/or a parent with limited time.

2. Find tools that will help you manage the project

There are many great tools available for managing large projects including:

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Monday
  • Basecamp

However, I was working on my own and wanted something simple – and this is when I discovered Todoist.

It allowed me to break the design of my website into different categories and then list tasks within each category. I also installed the Todosit app on my phone, which meant I could update things on the go.

This is what part of my list looked like:


  • Evaluate website design tools and choose most appropriate platform
  • Choose theme
  • Watch and read tutorials
  • Install and set up website structure
  • Install analytics
  • Evaluate and install plugins for additional functionality

Website Design

  • Design home page and inside page layouts
  • Choose colours
  • Select fonts
  • Redesign logo
  • Source images
  • Create banners, slideshow

Website Content

  • Update existing content
  • Add new information
  • Integrate web forms
  • Upload videos to Youtube and Embed into website
  • Request customer testimonials

This way I could update my list and tick things off as they got done!

3. Find people that can support you

Create a list of people you can call on to help you with different aspects of your project. These can be family members, friends, colleagues or other businesses. Much will depend on the time you have available, the budget and your skills/

It took me about 6 weeks to get my website redesigned – I had allocated 2 hours per day and I made sure I was very disciplined and worked on it every single day.

Fast-forward 3 years

And I found myself with another overwhelming project… this time I felt better equipped at handling it.

In 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and whilst undergoing chemotherapy, I was invited to present at a women’s business conference. I was terrified of public speaking but it was a big opportunity for my business and I figured if cancer didn’t kill me, public speaking probably wouldn’t either.

So I started preparing for the presentation… first I listed all the challenges I would have to overcome:

  • I was paralysed by fear when it came to public speaking
  • I was suffering from chemo brain, which meant my memory was poor
  • I was fatigued from chemo and couldn’t stand up for more than 5 minutes
  • I lost 70% of my hair and the presentation was being filmed
  • I had put on weight and had very little to wear
  • I had never done a presentation or held a microphone and I didn’t know how the clicker worked

But I didn’t want to miss out on this incredible opportunity, so I decided to work through each challenge:

  • To overcome fear of public speaking, I asked for help from friends who were used to presenting to large audiences
  • For chemo brain, I practised and practised, so the presentation was engraved in my brain
  • I asked conference organisers if I could have a stool on stage, in case I needed to rest
  • I called my hairdresser who helped style my clip-in hair
  • I watched YouTube videos about creating and engaging presentations and I ordered a clicker on eBay so I could practice
  • And I managed to dig up an old dress, in which I felt comfortable

Finally the presentation day came… and I got through it without too many problems. I was so relieved at the end, but also very happy that I worked through my biggest fear at a time when I was my weakest.

I hope these tips have given you a bit more confidence to tackle that big project. Be creative and work through your list at a time when you are rested. Take a break if you feel anxious. You will be amazed at how quickly you complete your project if you do a little each day.

About the Author

Ivana Katz builds websites that build businesses. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs overcome anxiety when it comes to dealing with the online world. Think of her as your business co-pilot. Discover more at on her website or download a free report – “Ultimate Website Design Secrets Black Book – 10 Bulletproof Strategies for Designing an Outrageously Successful Website”

This blog has been created in partnership with Studio42 by a guest author. The opinions represented in this article are the individual views of the guest author, and do not in any way reflect the views of Studio42. This post has not been sponsored and any products or companies listed have been included solely at the discretion of the guest author. If you have any concerns about the content of this article, please contact Studio 42.