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Posts Tagged ‘review the year’

Planning – How to realize my dreams?

Jan 19, 2011 Leave a comment

During my last years in school, the idea of visiting all seven continents grew in my mind and this dream was born. But at those days, I did not really start planning to realize this dream. I was just traveling wherever an opportunity arose and many of these opportunities made my visit North America, but no other continents. Thus, realizing this dream was still a dream…

Influenced by the experience that I made within my main job – where I have to plan a lot in the context of project management, continuous improvement and Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle – I began to transfer these planning habits to my personal life. This gives me structure and guidance throughout the year and helps me to realize my dreams.

I differentiate between three different levels of planning:

Strategic planning: This is the big picture of my life that I update once a year. It contains the dreams of my life, my overall goals and looks up to 10 years into the future.

Tactical planning: Once a year, based on the strategic planning, I develop a plan of concrete measures that I want to implement during the next year to get a little bit closer to my dreams.

Operational planning: During the year, I check the status of my measures every month, adjust the planning (if necessary), and add additional activities for new measures to my task management as starting point for my daily operations.

I perform these different levels of planning in a top-down approach from strategic to operational planning on a regular basis and insert upcoming issues during the year in a bottom-up approach from my daily operations into the planning.

To read more about this approach, I recommend starting with the “Strategic planning”.

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Strategic Planning – Define your dreams

Jan 19, 2011 1 comment

Once a year – normally during the Christmas holidays – I sit down for half a day to review the previous year, to adjust my dreams according to the current situation, and to plan how I can realize these long term goals. My planning horizon for this strategic planning is about 5 to 10 years into the future. This is the very big picture of my life!

To visualize my dreams, I use a simple table with the following columns:

Area of Life: This is a description of the area of my life that I am thinking  about. Just to give you an idea what I am talking about, here are some examples: family, job, education, health, languages, sport, culture, finance, etc.

Dream: I try to put my dreams that are related to the respective area of my life into words. While doing this, I think about the next 5 to maximum 10 years. Examples are: “become my own boss”, “finish a marathon”, or “visit all seven continents”.

Current Situation: To define the starting position for every dream, I write down the current situation. In case of the dream “visit all continents” I have been to Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America so far.

Measures: In this column, I develop measures to close the gap from the current situation to the dream. As far as possible, I break the measures down to years to have achievable milestones. In the “visit all seven continents” context, I have to assign trips to Antarctica, Australia, and South America to the upcoming years.

While defining these dreams and measures to achieve the dreams, I try to integrate my findings from the success and the fun journal to focus on goals that are supported by my skills and talents or that will create a relevant fun factor.

In addition, I maintain something like a waiting list for dreams and ideas that come to my mind during the year and that I would like to integrate into my strategic planning during the next cycle.

How I continue with the results of the strategic planning will be described in the “Tactical planning”.