Have you ever been in the middle of a huge project and had an idea that keeps niggling at you and distracting you from the thing you should be doing?
I found that using a portfolio management framework for my life helps me make decisions when opportunities arise. Having a place to put new ideas becomes particularly important when I am in the middle of a longer-term effort that requires significant concentration. It is too easy to be pulled off-track by the siren song of something new.
That siren song becomes particularly loud when I am in the dip of the change curve. The new thing is so shiny. It seems like much more fun than the hard grind of the middle of the change journey.
Below are some of my favorite planning resources. I use these resources for my personal road mapping.
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Long-Term Planning (1 year or more)
Burnett and Evans use design-thinking techniques to guide you through personal life design. Originally targeted at undergraduates, Burnett and Evans’ techniques work for everyone at a point of transition. In the Workbook, Burnett and Evans provide one of my favorite exercises to track engagement, energy, and flow in your current life.
LaPorte approaches goal-setting through determining how you want to feel as you make change in your life. She provides pointed questions to help you inventory each area of your life and see which changes you want to make. She encourages you to pay close attention to what you already have. Women are her target audience, but I feel that her approach will resonate with many men.
Mid-Term Planning (Monthly – 1 year)
Moran and Lennington encourage you to think in terms of quarters. They argue that 12 weeks is enough time to get stuff done while being short enough for urgency and for being able to see the end-goal. They are focused on the business context and leading others, but the concepts also apply to personal projects and change efforts. This book has influenced much of my thinking on how to plan and execute change.
Hyatt has been focused on focus – particularly in his recent work. I found that this book + his Full Focus Planner have been helpful tools in keeping my eye on the goals I have set for the quarter and reminding me of the progress I have made over the year.
Short-Term Planning (less than Monthly)
Neill marketed his book as a 90-Day plan. It’s really a guide on how to be agile while making your dreams manifest. Neill is focused on the day-to-day of getting through the change journey. He’s an engaging and encouraging guide. A great companion if you are missing mentors and cheerleaders in your life.
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