The Boring (and Vastly Underrated) Art of Planning | Scott H Young
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Most people tend to be overly optimistic planners, but then the projects take much longer and more effort than initially thought.
Our inability at planning shows in how we tend to choose immediate over long-term rewards. Life is also complicated and what we need to do to have a better future is more complex. For example, to advance a career, you may need to acquire skills, apply for new jobs, or complete key projects. Each one requires considerable planning.
The 10% rule states that you should spend roughly 10% of the total time you anticipate for a project on planning the project. The time spent planning is often the most valuable.
At first, set aside more time for planning. Force yourself to map out the path ahead instead of just doing.
Break down everything you need to do to enable you to move forward on a project. Success requires a plan way more granular than most people make it.
For example, if your project is writing a novel, ask yourself what you're trying to do. Are you trying to reach out to a publisher, self-publish, or is it just for practice? How will you structure the story? Define the main plot? Fill out the character backgrounds?
With a map drawn, the next step is your itinerary. When you will start, how many days a week you will work and when you expect to reach key milestones.
Put everything in your calendar. Many people fail to realize how many other tasks might interfere with their project, such as an upcoming vacation or other deadlines. Scheduling it can also prepare you psychologically. For example, knowing that you will have to dedicate your evenings to a project for the next six months.
Planning should tell you what you need to do for today. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Today.
A step further is to commit to particular hours of the day. For example, I will exercise right after I finish work, before dinner.
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