Sunday, 29 December 2013

Goals to projects to next actions

In my last post, I outlined how I had set up my monthly plans to weekly plans (and at times, daily tasks) in my binder but said that the next actions area was still a big blank as I hadn’t had a chance to think about things. Well, I managed to find some time this weekend to think about things, and to some extent, simplify my ‘life areas’.

In the past I have had between 3-8 life areas, but this year I have just 4 (in no particular order):
  • Writing
  • Chimwemwe
  • Health and fitness (for which, read ‘running’ essentially!)
  • Relaxation
Now, the title of this post of “Goals to projects to next actions” is a bit misleading as most of these areas seem to have ended up with either goals and no projects or projects in an area (but no overall goal)! For example, ‘Health and Fitness’ has three goals:
  • Run 15-20 miles per week
  • Keep weight between 9 stones and 9 stones 4lb
  • Maintain core strength and shoulder stability
If I achieve the first, I will almost certainly achieve the second goal! The core strength and shoulder stability (my shoulders dislocate all too easily!) will be achieved by doing my exercises and these have already been written into every single day in 2014 (as described in the last post).

Likewise, ‘Writing’ has three projects, though I suppose they all come under the overall goal of ‘getting published’ – finish and edit book 5; Kindle-publish ‘Faultlines’; script-write ‘3a’ (which makes sense to me).

Anyway, I have now set up the navy Portland in a way that makes sense to me. Here goes!

Plastic protective sheet
Quote from ‘Inception’

Divider 1
Annual Plans sheet
4x Quarterly plans sheets (grey paper)
Life area 1: Writing – project outline
Life area 1: Writing – projects to next action sheets
Life area 2: Chimwemwe – goals/projects outlines
Life area 2: Chimwemwe – projects to next action sheets
Life are 3: Health and Fitness (aka ‘running’) – goals sheet
Life area 3: Health and Fitness (aka ‘running’) – milestones sheet
Life area 4: Relaxation – projects/goals sheet
Life area 4: Relaxation – ‘finishing the Morris Quilt plans’
Lined cotton cream paper for reviews/extra notes space
Grey lined paper for quarterly review notes

Divider 2
Monthly sheets for 2014 (see previous post for details)

Divider 3
Weekly sheets for 2014 (see previous post for details)

Divider 4
Currently nothing, though review sheets (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual) will probably go in here

In more detail
Behind divider 1:
All of the pages are cotton cream except for the quarterly plans ones (which are on grey so I can find them more easily). I was going to use different coloured paper for each life area and indeed pulled out all the coloured paper I have, then decided it would all clash horribly, so changed to cotton cream with washi tape to code the life area.

The first page is a summary page and lists the (current) goals for the year in each area. There is washi tape at the side to indicate the code for that life area.

Annual plans
Then there are the quarterly plans pages. I have only completed Q1 because three months is a long time and if I plan them all out now, it may all be out of date by the time I get there. I would rather plan a quarter in advance (with a weather-eye on the annual plans). The plans for each life-area are written in colour-coded ink.

Quarterly goals (Q1)
Quarterly goals (Q2) still to be completed
After these sheets come the projects in more detail. The tops of all of the following sheets have washi tape to indicate the life-area and there is a small square of washi tape on the reverse too to help locate pages when I am flicking through the section.

Writing goals/project summary
For each life-area, there is a summary page of things to have achieved in 2014, followed by project to next action sheets for them. For example, ‘finish and edit book 5’ has a page which has the next scenes to be completed and their hoped-for completion date as the next actions, with space to tick them off. The only real exception to the sheet per project system is ‘Relaxation’ as the next actions would be all the same for ‘read 40+ books in 2014’ (‘read a book’ then ‘read a book’ then ‘read a book’...) and similarly for most of the other goals. The only ‘relaxation’ detail sheet is a plan on what needs to be done to finish the William Morris patchwork quilt I am halfway through.

One of the project sheets for 'writing'
Summary sheet for 'Chimwemwe'
Health and Fitness
Milestones rather than next actions
In Health and Fitness, I have milestones rather than projects, so my running milestone for January is ‘long run = 6 miles; 1-2 other runs/week’. Incidentally, the reason that ‘Health and Fitness’ boils down to little more than running is because that when I am running, everything else just drops into place – I eat well, I sleep well, I stay hydrated, my weight drops, my mood improves... as long as I am running, I don’t need to focus on any of that.

List of things to do to complete the quilt
Behind divider 2:
You’ve seen this in the last post, but on these monthly sheets I note any birthdays for the month, any ‘to do’ for the month (things I have to do that month that are unrelated to any of the life-areas/projects e.g. renew car insurance; send card and present to x etc.) and now I have written in, for the first quarter at least, the next actions/milestones for the projects, colour-coded to the life-area.

Behind divider 3:
The weekly sheets. Again, you have seen these in the last post and these are lists of ‘things to do this week’ broken down into ‘to do’ and ‘next actions’ and the next actions are colour-coded to life-area.

This post will get huge if I try to explain my ‘system’ for how all this works on a day to day basis – I’ll cover that in the next post!

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