Impact Planning - rethink the way you plan!

career revelyoution Apr 15, 2018

The end of 2017 is fast approaching, and many of you have likely been working on budgets, year-end reports and other tracking information at work.  Indeed, it seems that everyone wants data, plans and analysis in the final hours of the calendar year, all aimed at setting the table for a productive and profitable new year.

But what are you doing to set yourself up for an impactful and meaningful 2018?

Just as a business tracks its annual outputs and progress, so too should you take some time to consider what you have accomplished, what you could do differently, what you didn’t quite get around to in this current year.

Thoughtful contemplation (not judgment) of your current state is invaluable in terms of thinking strategically about your priorities in the new year.

Imagine each year is a new mountain that you are setting out to climb. In the spirit of making sure you leave no stone (or opportunity) un-turned,  you load your proverbial backpack full of everything you think you will need to successfully summit the peak.

But, inevitably, you pack too much baggage!

You are highly likely to have to ‘off-load’ some of your backpack (your plans, your goals, your 'to do's) during the year, in order to have enough energy and stamina to complete the climb. Plans go unfinished, dreams unrealized, only to haunt us later when we revisit our unsatisfying progress.

We set out each new year with resolutions, plans and dreams. But most people fade quickly back into old habits and routines. Most people pack their backpacks so full with aspirations and goals that they literally cannot make any progress during the year due to all that unproductive weight. And so they give up. They get frustrated and feel defeated; that yet again…they didn’t accomplish their goals.

So how about you save yourself the grief of un-accomplished goals?

Think strategically before you invest your time in another year of laundry lists that ultimately paralyzes you, instead of inspiring and supporting real progress towards your goals.

Think in terms of what I like to call 'Impact Planning'.

Instead of dumping a whole year’s worth of great ideas onto your already full ‘to do’ list, think about your time in much smaller, more manageable chunks.

I’m talking 90 days. Max.

Do your evaluation of the current year. Assess what you’ve achieved, and where you’ve fallen short.

Then use that information to consider your priorities in the new year, only do it through a lens of discipline.

I hate to break it to you, but you are not going to get all that great stuff done. Not all of it. And, I could make the case that if you do, you are highly likely not to get it done well.

But, if you plan thoughtfully, strategically, you can get more done than you have ever gotten done before.

Don’t plan more than 90 days-worth of projects and priorities.  Any goal beyond 90 days is difficult to stay motivated for. It's very easy to lose momentum and energy when you don't see quick, tangible progress. Longer-term goals increases the likelihood of procrastination

90 days represents a healthy horizon to shoot for because you will inevitably create short-term feedback loops that can reward you along the way.

You don’t just need to ‘work harder’. You need to set up a structure that allows you to work strategically and you will get more done!

Simplifying can be very powerful.

Rather than overloading yourself with projects and plans that have a slim likelihood of actually getting done; streamline your thinking. Prioritize your goals and break the necessary activities into short-term chunks.

You will be amazed at how much you will get done, and how good it feels to actually make progress that you can see and feel!

Try it, and let me know what you think!

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