“If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” — Tariq Siddique
Well, it is the New Year in many parts of the world, so why not make a plan for the coming year? One key lesson I’ve learned in life is that what I do in my private life can be useful in corporate life. I had used Quicken to do my financial planning and tracking since the early 1990s. As the departments and projects I managed grew in size I noticed that planning their budgets and tracking their expenses was no different than doing my own personal budget and expenses, except that there were more zeros behind the numbers.
Planning and setting goals for the year has pretty much worked out the same. As my birthday is also in December, this time of year lends itself to laying out what I want to accomplish in the coming year. Initially, my goals were pretty fuzzy and there were a lot of them. With time I came to set a few specific goals and kept it limited to a couple of key things in some aspect of life. These aspects included fitness, finance, education, professional and social. I’m pretty content when I’ve completed 75% of them by the end of the year.
By the time I got to planning large projects, I found I was fairly good at laying out a challenging goal and then hitting it. I recall a weekend off-site training program I once put together in my 20s and my boss, who had been through many of them before, complimented me that the training ran on time. It had not even occurred to me that it would do otherwise. Why? Because I already had years of practical experience at setting goals and hitting (and missing) them.
“It’s not the plan that’s important, it’s the planning.” — Dr. Gramme Edwards
My projects have been primarily software intensive ones. Before managing these departments and projects I was essentially a computer programmer (but worked as an intelligence analyst for example) but spent more time working on my own projects than I did on any office assigned project. Since I was doing my own software development from beginning to end, when I got around to managing software development projects, I already knew what a successful project looked like. This helped me to estimate the project well and also helped me to help others to execute that project with good quality and on time delivery.
See more thoughts on planning.
The disciplines I practiced in my own life were essential for the success I had with projects later in life. No, I was not a paragon of discipline, ask anyone who has worked with me. Yet what we do every day is what we do well, and it carries over into our professional practice.
What can you do to further improve your personal life that will also have practical value in your professional life?