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Posts Tagged ‘effort’

Tactical Planning – Plan the upcoming year

Jan 19, 2011 2 comments

Subsequent to the strategic planning, I do the annual planning to structure the upcoming year. I use the strategic planning as basis and I try to select not more than three to five goals – maximum one per area – to focus on.

To ease the planning process, I use a table with the following columns:

Dream: Copy and paste the selected dream from the strategic planning. Again, let us use “visit all seven continents” as an example.

Measure: Copy and paste the measures to realize the dream that are assigned to the upcoming year. In the context of the dream “visit all seven continents” it could be a measure called “Travel to Australia”.

Steps incl. effort: I brainstorm the steps to realize the measures and estimate the effort. For example “Plan journey (30 hours)” and “Perform journey (4 weeks)”. I do not brainstorm all activities within these steps, I only do a rough estimation of the necessary activities and their effort.

Timeframe: I schedule these steps throughout the upcoming year as basic planning to know when I want to work on what steps. In the context of the Australia example, it would be possible to plan the journey from January to April and to perform the journey in May and June.

Selecting the measure and planning it helps me to make up my mind for the next year. This simple table is the reference that I use within the “Operational planning” during the year.

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Setting up task management

Jan 18, 2011 4 comments

During the last years, I experimented a lot with to-do lists to manage my tasks. At the moment, I am working with an online tool which I can easily access from all my devices. This makes it possible to capture all tasks from wherever I am and it releases me from keeping everything in mind.

I use different lists for all areas of my life. For example, I have a list for my main job, for bigger projects, for my private stuff, and for shopping. While writing down new to-dos, I try to write the tasks as actionable “next actions”, referring to David Allen’s “Getting Things Done®” methodology. In addition, I use attributes like estimated effort, priority, as well as start and due date:

Effort: I estimate the necessary time to perform the task. This makes it easy to plan the upcoming day and to evaluate, if it is possible to perform the tasks in the available time.

Priority: I simply use three different priorities to manage my tasks:

  • Operational: All routine tasks that do not have a mid- or long-term importance and do not impact my goals.
  • Tactical: All tasks that have a mid-term influence on my goals.
  • Strategic: All tasks that are from a strategic importance and that influence my long-term goals or my personal development.

Start date: This is the scheduled date on which I want to start working on the task.

Due date: This is the deadline for the completion of the task.

I try to keep the basic setup as simple as possible. I will write more about how I use this task management within the “Daily operations” section. Even if it would be possible to use paper based lists or to use plain excel sheets, I prefer tools like http://www.toodledo.com – which I use – or http://www.rememberthemilk.com. These tools assist you with search-, filter- and sort-functionalities and allow you to focus on the tasks instead on the management.