“An hour of planning can save you ten hours of doing.”
So much of our life is devoted to seat-of-the-pants thinking. That’s because we are busy getting things done. We know instinctively that the world rewards doers, not thinkers. At least that’s what it looks like on the surface. When you skim under the top layer you’ll see that effective doers have strong internal thinkers guiding their action. With that powerful combination, success is imminent.
Here’s how to put together a well-designed plan of action:
Identify What Success Will Look Like to You
In business, many projects fail not because they went over budget or beyond the schedule. They fail because the results didn’t satisfy the client. In fact, most customers don’t mind paying a little extra if they know they’ll get what they want. A common problem is that the consultant didn’t spend enough time with the customer defining the requirements at the start of the project. It’s the same thing for your personal projects. Ensure you clearly define how you want your project to perform once it’s completed. Early uncertainty about performance requirements will only cause problems for you later in the process.
Break Down Your Project into Manageable Chunks
You can’t do everything in one day. Well, let me clarify. The projects you can complete in one day are not BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). The one-day projects are less hairy. To complete a BHAG project you’ll need to break it down into multiple tasks. Some tasks will last a few hours, days or weeks. The monster projects may have task durations measured in months or years. By breaking the project into manageable tasks you’ll be able to better handle the obstacles that will inevitably appear on your path to success.
Celebrate Your Progress
Not everything about success is achieving your end goal. There’s much work to be done between start and completion. Learn to enjoy the progress you make every day. You’ll grapple with numerous challenges on your long journey. There will be plenty of opportunities to learn new ways of doing things and improving your skills. Teach yourself to celebrate the process and success will already be yours.