This is part 2 in a 3 part series about using a project plan to accomplish any goal you have. Part 1 can be found here
So you have defined your goals, picked a deadline, laid out a plan and are ready to put that plan into action.
Then life happens.
Suddenly your well-laid plan, has become unrealistic. The schedule doesn’t work, you get sick, other projects/goals pop up, or any number of things that can slow down a project. These are things that can be expected, or unexpected, but you have to plan for them. That’s life, and life happens. Sucks, doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to.
In project planning for business, it is always good to build in a little bit of extra time to the project, for any unforeseen, or unplanned, deviations to the plan. That aspect is very important in your planning for personal goals, as it allows life to happen. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could set out to do a goal and could dedicate 100% of your time to that goal until it was achieved? YES!, but who are we kidding, that is unrealistic.
Using the 5k metaphor from the first part in the series, it is conceivable that if you worked out, 8-10 hours a day for 2 weeks straight, you would have put in the requisite amount of work to train your body and mind to run a 5k. But aside from the professionals and the unemployed, it is unrealistic to expect that of yourself.
Your body needs time to rest, your life needs your attention elsewhere.
Instead, plan to workout for 1-2 hours, 3-4 times a week, or every other day. Now you have a plan that does not compromise the rest of your life, while allowing you to accomplish the goal you set out to accomplish.
Be aggressive. An unrealistic plan that forces you to sacrifice other necessary aspects of your life is not a plan you are likely to stick to. Similarly, a plan that has you working out once a week for 6 months in order to train for your 5k is also not likely a plan you are going to stick to. Plan for life to happen. Build in the flex time. Set yourself up for success.
Prioritizing might seem simple, but this is the only way to establish balance with your projects and your life. Your dedication here is what will help propel you the rest of the way through your goals.
At any given time when you have more than 1 item needing your attention, it is important to prioritize them based on the timeline you want to accomplish them as well as the value they add to your life and the lives of those around you. This will help ensure that you are choosing the correct project for yourself to dedicate your time to right now. Do not bite off more than you can chew.
Joel Runyon from the Blog of Impossible Things marks the stages of separate goals as things you can do right now, things you can do soon, and things you can do in the near future. Defining those tasks as part of your plan will help you multi-task and ensure success across all of your goals.
The latest piece to this puzzle, and one that I only recently defined for myself. (thanks again to Joel for his very well written series) But it is also the one I think is what makes me so successful at accomplishing my goals.
I have always been a person to get on a roll, and spend hours on end getting lost in a project, in a book, in a conversation, in a bottle of wine. I realized that the reason I get lost in those tasks is because I ENJOY THEM. I enjoy what I am doing, the concept of what I am doing, and I am (with some) eager to get to my goal, to see my results.
If I can get momentum generated from one project, it makes it increasingly easier to transition that momentum into another project. The hardest part is that first bit of momentum. That first step, that first project.
If you are just starting a new journey, I recommend starting with something that you know you are passionate about and can get behind early and often. I started out with something small, and am working my way up. Mine started with a blog.
Can I migrate my blog over? Yes I can.
Can I make 1 post a week? Yes I can.
Can I get immersed in the blogosphere? Yes I can.
Can I de-clutter my life? Yes I can.
Can I <insert my next goal here>? YES I CAN!
The next step easier than the one before, thanks to the momentum I have built from the previous tasks.
Now you have identified and set your goals, created deadlines and project plans for them. You learned how to build in flex time to deal with this thing we call life and the importance of prioritization. All that is left is to get out there and start generating momentum and telling yourself YES YOU CAN!
Stay tuned for part 3 where we will tackle what to do when your project fails, what to do when your project grows, and how to motivate yourself through either scenario.