Projects vs tasks

Your job might be a series of tasks. Tasks are work where money is traded for time and effort. You put in a fixed amount of time, expending effort along the way, and you get paid. In the end, tasks are completed and it’s up to the boss to weave those tasks together into something useful.

The person at the front desk of a hotel is probably doing a task. So is the lineman working on a high power line. The easier a job is to get, the more likely it involves doing tasks.

The alternative is projects.

The way a project gets done is up to you. Your goal is to create an extraordinary outcome, not to perform the tasks. The work done is simply a means to an end. If you can figure out how to do less work or different work and still create project magic, that’s exactly what you should do.

The challenge is in owning the project. To say, “I’m going to engage with this customer in a way that changes them from frustrated to loyal,” as opposed to saying, “I’m going to move this paper from here to there.”

Claim the project before you start the work.


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