Now I need to actually do the main bulk of the project. I've planned out my tasks for the next 4 months in MS Project, although I'm sure I'll have to adjust that schedule as time goes by. I've planned it to finish two weeks before the deadline, i.e. 20th August rather than 3rd September, so that gives me some wiggle room in case I overrun. I've also booked the whole of the final week off work, on the assumption that I will be running late. So, a belt and braces approach there.
More generally, I've arranged to take every Friday off work from May to August. So, I'll do 4 days in the office, and 3 days on the project - if I can do 12 hours a day over those 3 days, that's a 36 hour week, so effectively full-time. There's some flexibility there, e.g. I could do 1-2 hours in the evening on Monday-Thursday, in which case I can free up some time at the weekend. The key point here is that I need to make sure I think of them as study days, not as holidays. (Cue flashback to the "it's not a free period, it's a private study period" speech that teachers used to give us at school.) From the point of view of my company, I've only got a 3 day week next week (since Monday is a bank holiday), but I mustn't adopt that mindset myself.
Thinking back to last year, I did get distracted by leisure activities when I should have been working, so that's a trap to avoid this time around. On the other hand, I do need to allow for some free time, otherwise I'll burn out. I've also still got flat stuff to sort out. So, I'm not going to drop off the face of the earth, but don't be surprised if I'm less sociable than usual over the next few months.