How To Plan
While starting this article I realise that it would be a proper thing to build this short thing in my mind out to a decent sized guide. Also to swallow my own pill. Maybe it's not gonna be finished in a week but that's where we have our planning for.
So what this article is going to be about is how you plan for the short term, medium term and long term. This has a lot of benefits yet there aren’t many people that do them all properly.
How comes? haha most people suck at life. The amount of people that know how to manage themselves and get 90% of the stuff they want is VERY limited.
I’ve spend over 7 hours writing this post so i hope you enjoy it.
So how comes I came up with this shit?
I am a bit fucking weird. Two reasons why i’m a planning nazi is cause im
- Pretty structured, I like order, not chaos.
- My brain has very limited RAM capabilities. So I can’t store to much stuff in the short term. Therefore I need to have things on paper so it makes things clear.
- I’m not a fucking life coach pretending to know it all.
- I am not spending 40 hours writing this article. guess what, I got other shit to do.
- I am sure there are errors in this article. Correct me where you think is
Things I want to talk about:
- Benefits of planning (why the fuck should you even do it)
- Long term planning (do you even got a future?)
- Medium term planning (How is this quarter going for ya?)
- Short term planning (what you gonna do this week bro?)
- Other factors to take into considerations (Pitfalls & Tools)
Benefits of Planning
Knowing what you can do in certain time frame (no false expectations)
Being able to predict the future
Having a better sense of direction
Losing the feeling of not knowing what to do
Managing your time better
I could name a lot more but you’ll see
Order of planning - Start with the end result
Just like the order of this article it’s important to start with the end in mind.
BUT that doesn’t mean you should be fucking doing nothing for your weekly planning until you have your quarterly planning / Project planning done.
It’s more important that you also just do the shit you are supposed to do.
Stage 1: Long Term Planning (years) Where do you wanna end up?
First of all you fucking gotta have a long term plan. If you don’t have your long term vision that you should fucking be thinking about that shit. If you can’t come up with any shit than you better go out and fucking explore.
You are probably sitting in the same fucking spot since the last 5 years. Book a solo vacation to a place far away. don’t bring a laptop. do some thinking about your life.
A ticket to another city nowadays is as cheap as €50 for a return. sit in a hostel if you’re on a budget and you’re done with €100 for a weekend. but you probably have an excuse right 😉
Flexibele long term goals.
I got a ton of things I want. To name a few:
Successful marketing company
Build a school / other education center
Own multiple apartments in different cities
Now when you’re not the one with the “im gonna play in FC barcelona” than you probably have multiple interesting goals. If that’s the case than your long term goals can be flexible with your mid term goals.
Evaluate once in a while about where your quarterly goals are taking you. Is it in the direction you want to end up yes or no
The difficulty with determining your long term goals:
Likelihood of succeeding on your long term goals:
Long term goals can be really hard to set. because when you go into an area where you don’t have ANY knowledge. How can you make a good estimation of what’s reasonable and acceptable.
One way to counter this is by having knowledgeable people in your surroundings with whom you can check if you’re long term goals are achievable.
When you take this into practice and you have someone who says he’s going to be the next bill gates you can just say he is gonna fail cause the odds are stacked so high against the person.
Than again one of the ideas i’ve been flirting with is that I want to make 100m in my life. like before I am aged 60 - 70.
Now is this realistic? Hard to say. is it more likely than to become the next bill gates? for sure. probably like 10.000x more likely.Let’s say I wanted to have 30 million? than i’d be 30.000 times more likely to succeed (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra_high-net-worth_individual)
Switching from goals:
When you are 25 and below there is a fat chance that you are going to be switching from what you want exactly. I got a friend who wanted to be a mechanical engineer, I mean dating coach, I mean bartender, I mean economist (you get the point).
This is totally normal behaviour. Definitely with guys in the years they are exploring and developing. It’s good to think you want something, go after it for a while and notice it’s not for you.
But you have to look out that you are not constantly chasing a shiny fucking object or a new thing. like fucking bitcoins and shit.
Influence of your surroundings on your goals:
Yea I know. You love your family. But there is a fat chance they have influenced the choices that you have made for yourself. Be fucking sure to check up on the influences different people in your environment have had on the goals you have.
What I have noticed when I was doing the self authoring is that it keeps in your head. This is good cause you get deeper thoughts about it. What also works for me is to walk around while thinking. Sometimes I have earbuds in and talk to myself. With the earbuds people think I am calling but I am just talking myself (yeah i’m fucking weird, i’m also effective)
Jordan Petersons’s Future Authoring is HIGHLY recommended. I’ve recommended it to multiple friends and all gave feedback that it was what they needed.
Get out of your fucking normal environment. Next vacation go solo to a place and do some thinking. I got a friend who used to travel 1 weekend a month (not sure if correct) to another city. This gave him a lot of insights and self reflection. Me and other friends have similar experience with traveling and getting away from regular life.
Include and exclude: Most people know what they don’t want. And they know parts that they do want. making a list of those things would help a lot. But to be serious you should just fucking buy the self authoring and do that fucking program.
Maybe this video can help you out https://youtu.be/5WX9UEYZsR8
How do I do it?
I’ll admit. My longterm plans are probably not the best. I’ve recently finished the future authoring and got a pretty decent vision of where I want to head to. Then again I am focusing mostly on my main priority, which is building an online marketing business.
Stage 2: Medium Term Planning (Months) So that’s what I’m gonna do next few months huh?
You go boy! You’ve reached stage 2. Now you must know what you wanna do long term. Want to get into shape? Want to build a website? Want to start a business? Want to start working remotely? Want to bla di bla di blaa haha. Yea so now it’s time for the more serious work.
One thing that is common with medium term planning is this: Not a lot of people do it. So who do these kind of tasks? People.who.get.shit.done. Think about the situation in most companies. Who is making the quarterly planning? The manager or leaders are those ones.
But guess what. you gotta be the fucking manager of your own fucking life. To bad bro, can’t outsource that shit (or very limited, with marginal results (since they wont know who you are) and it gonna cost you)
Let’s get into why you actually would want to do this shit.
Benefits of medium term planning
Knowing what to do on a weekly basis
If do this you can actually base your weekly planning on this. Otherwise you’re weekly going to be looking at your projects and go like: sooo… what’s next??
Knowing what you'll get done by the end of a quarter
I got a buddy and he does a lot of shit that’s not really necessary, actually I have a lot of those haha. and the thing with it is that for those kind of people it is easy to be at the end of a period and be like: fuck, I didn’t do shit? How did that happen?
YOU WILL become extremely slow and inefficient if you don’t take your mid term planning serious. But most people are already slow and inefficient so yea. I mean you gonna stay it 😉
Knowing what problems you might encounter
When you really gonna plan out a project from stage a to z you will see the things that are necessary for you to achieve decent to good results. Than you might see problems you didn’t think about at first hand.
Calculating costs that you might have.
Yea this is probably something you might not like. But some stuff cost money. If you thought about getting 200 items of product x and it’s €20 you know it’s gonna cost you €4.000 in the end. You only realize it when you plan for the medium term.
Knowing what comes first before you can do other tasks
Some tasks are required before you start other tasks. This is where sometimes a little complexity comes into play. If you have to rely on other people stuff can get slowww.
wowowow that are a lot of benefits!! yea I know. But there are probably more and it only matters if you actually end up doing it. I’ll write down a guide on how to make yourself do certain shit later on. For those who can’t manage themselves (it’s okay, you’re the majority of the population 😉 )
Now let’s get into how you actually do this shittt!
In how many parts do you need to split the planning:
So I was planning a new section on a website. And I knew beforehand there were some thing that were very important. And others that were less important. So I split the project planning into 5 stages: Begin fase, Mid Fase, End fase 2 seperated fases called ongoing and extra. Think about how large your project is. Can you get it done in 10 weeks or will it take you 12 months. I recommend putting it into stages of 13 weeks (a quarter) so it doesn’t overwhelm you and you see results easier.
Start with the end in mind.
It’s necessary to know what you want to get at the end of your time frame. It’s smart to take a part of one of your longterm goal and use that as the medium term goal.
Here is a screenshot of the outcome that I was targeting for 2018 Q4.
What has to be doneeeeee.
So you know what you where you want to go to. Now let’s think about the tasks that are involved. With this part it’s going to a bit of juggling around with how specific you want and have to be. With your weekly planning you are going to get into more depht about how to do it so search a good midway into it.
List allll the tasks that you have to end the fase you are focusing on.
Things to take into consideration are the following:
How many of each do you need
How much time does each task take.
Potential cost involved in creation
Potential people involved in completion
Planning it into time.
Now when you know what to do it’s time to figure out when you are gonna get your shit done. Since this is not your weekly planning its going to be done in sections of weeks.
What is important is that you figure out how much time a week you want / and have on working on the project you are planning for.
For the project I was planning for I dedicated 20 hours per week for it. My deadline was by the end of the year so I had 11 weeks for completion. This is a total of 220 hours that I got to complete everything. Probably i’m going to miss a few hours at the end of the year due to christmas / other friend and family activities so let’s keep it at 180 hours.
Now with planning it into the weeks it’s important to realise the tasks that are depending on others.
Also it’s smart to group certain tasks together.
Here a screenshot of how I did it. The secret stuff is blurred out because of project privacy reasons. Some data is in dutch so feel free to study dutch for a couple of hours to understand it all.
Things that are important to note.
A = number of items in that taskT. total = Time totalT. Plan = Time planT. RM = Time remaining
- = Not going to it yet. (might be depending on something else for completion. = Task is already done
Is this perfect? YES, 100%! I made it. come onnnn!! (okay being serious this system of course has flaws)
If you want my template I can spend some of my precious time to clean my sheet and send it to you.
Next you see the tasks spread over the weeks. On the 3rd row you see the time it will take me that week to complete the tasks. The 4rd row calculates Time for the week - (minus) the time I have free that week for the tasks.
You can see in my planning that I am some hours short. So I’m going to try to slip in more of the tasks that need to be done. I might have to work a bit harder to be able to finish this all. But it motivates to know you have a deadline at a certain time in the future.
Now i’m going to address some of the things you might run into.
Pitfalls of medium term planning
Walking into problems that can change your planning
When you are doing a task you might see that you need help or that you can’t complete something. This sucks, that’s why you need to update your mid term planning on a regular basis (Once every 1 - 4 weeks, depending on the project type)
Guess what, it costs **time** haha
Yea it takes some time to create it. But you get a lot back from it. So it’s worth it and don’t complain.
Because you have things planned 6 weeks in advance. You have to realize that if you get sick for a week you are 20 hours behind on your schedule? What you gonna do if that happends huh?
Having no time to fuck around
Another thing is that you u can’t be fucking around to much. If you have 4 hours planned for something and you decide to be lazy and talk with other people and do things that are not neccesary in those hours you are going to run behind schedule!
Now onto the things that make our lives easier and better. The toools
Tools for better medium term planning:
You want to have google spreadsheet or excel. It needs flexibility of adjustments and paper does not give that. So use those applications. You can use the calculation function to understand more where you are at.
Peer feedback for knowing if its a good plan
This is BIGBIGBIG. It’s all fun and game that you create a plan. But when a college or someone else knowlegable on the subject looks at it and think it’s totally unrealistic you just kicked yourself in the balls. Or maybe you planned something and the response is: that would only take me 20% of the time that you have writen for it. Than you know you are spending way to much time doing useless shit and your not effective. So use your peer knowledge to make a proper planning.
This was it for the medium term planning. I might lateron come in and adjust the things that i’ve learned about. The planning style en documents I have undergo a ongoing changing format since I always find things to add or delete based on my experience over time.
Stage 3: Short Term Planning, watcha doing this week cutie? (week)
I have been doing this for a looooooooooooooong time. I had a lot of different type of plannings over the years. Productivity planner was one but the one that has stuck with me is google spreadsheets. I made my own weekly planning and now like 2 to 5 others are using it as well. Over the months i’ve been improving it to get it as good as possible.
The format i’m using right now has been developed over 42 weeks (i’m pretty happy with it. but I chance some stuff every now and than. Yet the basis stays the same).
Here’s a screenshot of my weekplan. You can only see Monday and Tuesday. I blurred out the things that you aren’t supposed to see.
Weekly Planning - Why you want to do it
Let’s just jump into it (lol).
Knowing what you are focusing on in a certain week.
When you go into your week with a list of 1000 items to do. You don’t got any sense of priority. That’s bad and doesn't work. If you think it does. than you’re never gonna get me or anyone so just leave this site please. <3
Knowing how to distribute the work over the week
So let’s say you got 6 tasks from your quarterly planning that you going to do that week. It’s good to think about the exact time you thought this would gonna take. Than you can assign these tasks to certain days. You want to prioritize the tasks that have multiple people involved to the front. So when you are dependent on a lot of factors try to get the first steps done monday or tuesday. If you are trying to hire someone in a week. And you start on friday. You’re going to end up with jack shit.
Is it realistic what you have planned?
One thing that is also overlooked is the likelihood of you actually managing to finish your planning. If you plan your week and see you got 80 hours of work planned. And you know you’re only going to do 40 than there is going to be a bunch of work that you can’t finish. So it makes it easier to set a realistic schedule that you can follow.
Managing Important tasks
What i’ve put in “Colom F” is IMP. This stands for importance. The reason i’ve done that is that some tasks are realllly important for you to succeed. Others have a way smaller impact.
Catching up on some reading about a topic has way less effect than getting a certain project done. So when you have a weekly and daily plan you know which tasks to do first. if you end up not completing all the tasks by the end of the day, at least you’ve done the important ones.
Managing Energy levels
This is something i’ve added recently. This is a factor that is being overlooked by a lot of people. Humans only have a maximal amount of decision making energy (read). So it’s important to know that you’re not going to stump out all hard work in 1 trip. halfway you’ll stall and make bad decisions and fuck shit up. So how to go along with this?
My method is that I do the hardest things in the morning. Next to that I try to mix hard tasks with easy tasks.
Figure out how to build a certain sections and what needs to be done to build out a certain landing page (energy requirement 8)
Next task: Put an article that someone else wrote up on my website. (energy requirement 3)
This way I am able to recover from task A by doing a low key easy task. After that i’ll have more energy for another difficult task. If I would do all the hard tasks in a row I would burn out.
Easy place to note down the process all in one place
Seeing how you are performing on a daily, weekly and task basis
How do I do it
I like these things. I’m a pretty ordered person. I like to have sheets, data, processes. So it’s only logical that my weekly plan is also pretty structured. If you guessed this than you are SMART, 10 points for you.
This is the part where I fill in what I want to do a certain day. In the image below you can see how it works. Every day is marked with a yellow background color and it has calculations for how much hours are planned that day and actual worked.
Most of the time I close the days by hiding the tasks for that day by hiding them in the sheet. This way it’s easier to keep an overview and focus on the day at hand.
The second part that’s at the bottom is the “Project Section” here I place the tasks I want to do for a certain project. I’ve put an image down here to show how I do it. Some stuff in English, some stuff is blurred, some stuff is in dutch.
I’ve left some stuff not blurred so you could actually see what I did for planning.
So this project is actually divided into different sections.
In the beginning of the week I would go in and put my tasks there that I want to do. During the week i’ll change the statusses from N = not done to Y = Done
Let me explain the columns I use:
“Colom A” = Tasks = The task at hand.
“Colom B” = N = Normal, this stands for my expected time. I actually got this from the days I was studing accounting (throwback lolz)
“Colom C” = W = Werkelijkheid, Yes I know, it’s a dutch word. It means reality. So this is actually where the actual hours worked on a certain task go to. Therefore you can see if you spend more or less than what you expected to spend on it.
I set it up in such a way that it gets calculated from the “days”section. Therefore you don’t have to do the calculations yourself. The only thing is that you have to copy the exact task name to the field above.
“Colom D” = Done = This is where you put down the status of the task. I got multiple statusses for this:.
Y = Done
N = Not done
B = Busy
P = Planned (for ex. when I put this on a certain day)
NP = Not Possible (another task needs to be finished before I can start this one)
“Colom E” = Plan’d = The planned is a field that has a calculation in it. This calculates the total time I have put it into the “daily” section. So let’s say i’ve put Task x on Monday and Tuesday for 3 hours each (in the N field). Than it would show 6:00.
“Colom F” = IMP = Importance of the task for project outcome. (discussed earlier)
“Colom G” = EN = Energy it takes to finish this task (discussed earlier)“Colom H” = Comments = Comments about the current state of the task. Here is where I write down certain notes. When the task is a bit bigger
How to use the daily planner in steps:
Plan the tasks you do in the project section. If they are complexer tasks than try to describe them more in details and maybe create smaller tasks.
Plan they day by day over the week. Take into consideration the tasks that are bigger/ multi days or dependent on others.
Plan the day by energy levels and importance of tasks.
Fill in the hours that you worked on certain tasks. Potentially make comments on how it went and things you need to take into consideration for next time you're gonna work on the task (in case you didn't finish it)
Notes on Weekly planning:
It’s good to do some reflecting on a weekly basis. I do this on mondays a lot
I also do my planning on monday. I haven’t tested with planning on sundays. I like to think a bit about my planning and most of the time I don’t really feel like doing this on my Sundays.
Things i didn’t discuss yet but that are important.
Every area has its on importance of short/ mid or long term. (Household vs work vs relationship)
Peer feedback for validating med and long term strategy
Continual feedback loop for avoiding pitfalls.
Limited resources & incomplete information
Accountability: If you want to be accountable for making your long/mid/short term plans. Let me know and put a MONEY STAKE on it. This will highly increase the chance of you actually getting doing it. My buddies and me we always do €50 - €100 on things like these.
- FUCKKK: there are a lot of mistakes in this guide!! haha yea i’m kinda okay with that. Not really the perfectionist on this shit. If you have something VALUABLE to add let me know 🙂 If you wanna talk about the fact that you are a spelling nazi i’ll give you access to the article so you can help me out. Love you <3
Now do you got stuff to say and things to add. Feel free to help me and others out with your infinite wisdom <3.
Peace out bitches