Planning for the Expected and Unexpected

As this year speeds along the highway of time, we may sometimes wonder whether the rest of this year is long enough to complete all the business and personal plans we have. Taking time to put together a plan can help us to achieve our goals.

Here are a few pointers to assist you in putting a plan together.

Make a list of all the things you want to do for the remainder of the year. List these items from most important to least important.

Decide when you want each of these items to be done, or estimate the time you will need to complete each item. When can you start working on each item? Is there something or someone else you are dependent on before you can start the task?

Are you the only one responsible for the items on your list, or are other people involved? If other people are involved, how do they influence your starting date and the time you need to complete each item? Are any of the items related; for example, can you only start working on one item once you have finished with another?

Once you have written down your plan, you should have a good idea of all the outstanding items; how much time each task will take to complete; and who is responsible for each task. You can test whether your plan is feasible by reflecting on the following factors:

We would love to be able to predict the future, but there are always unexpected opportunities and challenges that can influence the time you have available for a task. How much time have you set aside in your overall schedule for unexpected opportunities or challenges?

Some tasks will take more personal energy from you than others. For example, as an extrovert I do not get energy from doing paperwork. So doing my tax return takes a lot more energy than to discuss the work I want to have done with a contractor. Look at your sequence of items, and balance unenjoyable tasks with tasks that give you energy.

If there are other people involved in making your plan happen, share your plan with them to make sure they understand the role they play in your plan.

Are there any other stumbling blocks that will prevent you from implementing your plan? Is there anything that you can do to take that stumbling block out of the way?

Decide how often and when it will make sense to have a checkpoint. At checkpoints, you can measure your progress against the plan and confirm that all the items on the plan are still valid and relevant. Is there anyone else you need to involve in these checkpoints?

One final note. Include celebrations in your plan. When you have completed a task, you need to celebrate your success.