A Framework for Long Horizon Tasks
How do you go to Mars? You can't buy tickets and drive up to the space-port yet. We need to build everything that's involved. While you may not be launching to Mars, it sure does feel that way.
Here's a framework that I use to prioritize what I do today, tomorrow, and the day after, to achieve what I want to in 5-10-15-20 years.
- Take a piece of paper or equivalent. What works for you is the best tool.
- At the top, in one sentence, state your objective.
- Below it, write the year you want to achieve it.
- In the same area below the year, write out the preceding years until the current year.
- Find a place that inspires you - a coffee shop, park, or in case the current year is 2020, your favorite spot in your own home. Turn off your notifications. Isolate in that spot. In the "olden" days, we got our news once or twice a day via newspapers. Today is 24/7. Your brain does not have any reflecting time. Let's do that for the next 1 hour.
- Start working backward. Set a timer, say 30 minutes.
- What do you need to do to achieve that objective in the preceding years? Create your pathway to that goal.
- When you are down to the current year - (remember you set up a timer), take a picture, and save it - set it up to show up as a reminder every 1st of the month later.
For the final 30 minutes, spend time to write out the weekly objectives for the next 3-6 months. Do this activity every four months, add goals for the next 3-6 months, and reflect on what you accomplished the past 3-6 months. I don't keep any specific exact dates. A reminder on the calendar at the start of the week or day of the week is good enough. Marketing Mondays, Writing/reflecting Fridays. If you miss the day, doing it the next day is sufficient.
And there you go, now you have your step by step plan. Don't be afraid to recalibrate every 3-6 months when new information is available.
What's your project to Mars? Let me know over @kunjanshah!