Creating a retro-planning to get ahead...
12 months from now, I will have achieved that big hairy goal... but where do I start?
Stating our goals is one thing, but actually achieving them is another. As the to-do list gets longer and longer, and the weight of what needs to be done weighs heavily on one's conscious when we're supposed to be "relaxing" makes it very difficult to enjoy those rare moments of R&R...
So what does a retro-planning look like and how can we make the never-ending to-do list seam a little more manageable?
First and foremost, we need to work backwards, starting with our biggest and most ambitious goals, the aim of which is to work our way back to the here and the now. Some of the largest goals will not look, or even feel, manageable with today's competencies, however, we need to trust that we will find a way to get them done by the time we get that far down the list...
Now that we've put the big hairy goals down, let's cut the next year but into 4 quarters. The last day of each quarter should be set as a appointment with ourselves and our team to go through the passed quarter and plan for the one that is just about to start.
To do: Put each date in the calendar so you don't forget, and set aside the whole day to reflect on what has been achieved and what needs to be done. Each quarter should have its own goals, that should be:
Each goal will have a certain number of steps to them, which need to be listed and framed in time, so that we know how long each part is going to take. Each deadline for each step needs to be put on the calendar so that we can plan accordingly. This planning will lead to a daily, weekly and monthly plan of action, which will grow over time and shift around the changing landscape of obligations and opportunities.
To do: Cut each quarter up into months, each of which will have the corresponding sub-goals to be completed month after month to complete the main quarterly goals.
Each month should then be cut up into weeks, each with their sub-own goals and objectives, that are all subsets of the quarterly goals set out previously. One meeting per week to discuss what was achieved the week before and what what needs to be achieved should be scheduled to ensure that all colleagues are on the same page. This is also important if we are a one-person operation.
Taking time to re calibrate is the best way to stay on task and apply the W.I.N. mindset - What's Important Now?
To do: Cut each weak up days, and each day must have it's own action plan by tranches of 1 hour. Some tasks taking only a few minutes, others taking several days, so there's no reason why each hour cannot be made productive.
However, there's no point in filling up all 8-10-12h of the working in the day with things to do, because there an inherent flaw in our ability to estimate how much time each task is going to take, and invariably it's going to take twice as long...
Change is the only constant, and we all know what they say about the best laid plans...
Each day should be treated as a new start, building on the successes of the previous day, without forgetting to learn from what was experimented on during the previous day/week/month/quarter.
Finally, just to prove that we really can achieve just about anything, watch Stephen Duneier explain how he's been able to achieve some incredible goals, by taking one step at a time.