What’s in a name?

Another 40 Days of Baby Steps has just started, with a brand new group of Baby Steppers all fired up and focused to get their 40 day project DONE. We kicked off last week and we’ve been having fun naming our projects.

What’s in a name? How often do we label our projects with generic names like Website, Marketing or Admin?

What does that do for our focus, clarity and motivation?

Here are four common pitfalls of having a generic project name:

1. There’s no defined outcome

So how do you know when you’ve got there? It’s hard to stay focused when you’ve got no finish line to focus on. And it’s hard to get that ‘job done’ sense of satisfaction, or even a sense of progress, when you don’t have a clue what ‘done’ looks like.

2. It becomes a dumping ground

Without a defined focus, generic projects like Website can become an easy catch-all bucket for any tasks, thoughts or ideas that are remotely website related, but don’t actually come together towards a common goal. Which means you either end up busily ticking things off with no real sense of direction, or get so overwhelmed that you shut the door on your dumping ground and turn your attention to something more manageable instead.

3. There’s plenty of room for project creep 

You start off with plans for a simple website to showcase your expertise. Then you decide to add a blog, and a shopping cart… and some social media integration. Which means you need to revive your Twitter account… what about Pinterest? Maybe you’ll add an interactive forum to the website, get people engaged… and really you should have some video… All potentially good ideas, but it doesn’t matter how big the project grows, if you’re not shipping anything, if that simple website remains un-launched, none of it makes any difference.

4. It’s boring

Generic project names often feel boring, heavy, serious and too much like a chore. Like Maths homework. Just thinking about it makes you groan and look for the nearest light relief to procrastinate with.

That’s the reason why I renamed my Admin project into Engine Room. Admin makes me want to run a mile. Where as Engine Room reminds me that this is the stuff that keeps my business running and ticking over. It may not be pretty, and I might have to get my hands dirty, but it’s sure as heck vital if I want to carry on playing above deck, and that gives me the motivation to roll my sleeves up and get stuck in elbow deep in accounts and paperwork.

What about you?

Do you have any generic projects on the go at the moment? Have a go at renaming them. Think positive, desired outcome. Be clear, be decisive. And be playful – choose a name that excites you – and see what that does for your focus and momentum.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you come up with!

  • naomirichards

    Grace what a great idea. I am a bit boring when it comes to project names but I think it seems a more fun idea to give them something creative and bring them to life more

    • Thanks Naomi. It’s one I think kids would be brilliant at too – let me know if you decide to try it!

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