Long Term. I view the landscape from my current situation to address where I want to be in five years. Looking at things from a 5-year standpoint puts less pressure on the current situation yet it gives me an opportunity to dream about what is on the horizon.
The next long range view I take is a 2-year approach. In doing so, I can feel pretty confident of where I want to be in 24 months as I sketch out my short term plan. When I do this, I set broad ranging goals that help me work toward my short term planning.
Short Term. This process addresses the next 12 months. My annual review is conducted every December. This is when I set up my next year. However, you can start this at any time.
I set concrete and measurable goals for this period of time that are aligned with my ultimate vision of each Category of Improvement. I write these goals on index cards to review every day I am at the office. On one side of the card is the goal. The other side contains my deadline to achieve the goal… Think Flashcards.
Once the upcoming year has been planned out, I’ll prepare each quarter (3-months). In our profession, each quarter is significantly different from the next. Projects to focus on are then set up in 6-week modules.
Next is the weekly planning process.
In planning a week, I keep everything aligned with the direction I am heading toward. This planning process works best for me at the end of a week, on a Thursday or Friday.
It generally takes an hour to complete this weekly review and it’s important to capture ideas leading up to this time as I progress through my day to day schedule.
It looks like this…
Connect to my Categories of Improvement (15 minutes). Even if I am not focusing on a particular category in the upcoming week, I will take a look at these in case I get any ideas that I’d like to act upon in the future. I keep a running “capture” list for my ideas.
Create a Master Plan for the week (30 minutes). I begin this by evaluating my previous week. I always make a list of the 10-12 things I’ve accomplished or achieved, or I was proud of from that last week. From that point, I review my projects and decide which ones I want to work on in the upcoming week. I create a plan for each of these projects.
Set up Victory (15 minutes). This is when I schedule everything into the types of days that I’ve set up for the next week using my task management tool. In planning each day, I use a concept I’ve created called my “Power Parthenon.” I’ve designated each day in advance as one of three types of days: Foundation, Concentration, and Freedom. More on this in another article…
Daily planning is another process of its own. It works similarly to the regular process & I do it before I wrap up my previous day.
All in all. I believe that you have to be the CEO of your life. The role of an executive is to plan, supervise and follow things to an end. You need to see where you are within alignment to the vision you have set for yourself and the program. It’s important to learn how to cultivate the tension between vision & reality.