Such like in software development, we must be agile in our personal life too. There is not enough to create and complete our plans. Our life always changing and we should be prepared to the changes. That is the reason why I regularly review and sometimes refactor my plans.
I had a great training plan that should cover all of my learning for the next year: I have decided to gain a basic knowledge about web development using .Net related technologies. My goal was creating a clone of a Microsoft Todo site on my own and on every step, I wanted to learn some new stuff.
There is only one fix point in our life. That fixpoint is changing. Life does not care at all about my goals. We got a great push at my employee and we must change our technology stack. We have to use a Java stack instead of .Net.
That basically means, for me, there is no reason to finish my learning plan just because I do not even know if I will be able to use that knowledge at all. Instead of that, I will learn Java stack.
For me, that is not a big change but a change. It is relatively small change because I will still work on a web project. That means I still have to learn web development. But the technology stack will be another than the chosen one.
Reviewing our plans is really simple. We just have to go through on our goals and check their progress and their purpose of existence. By checking progress, we can review our time estimates. We can see if we need more or less time for a given kind of topic and we can modify our deadlines. When we are reviewing our goals, we can validate if we still need for a given goal or maybe we have to alter them or drop a goal at all. Maybe we can reprioritize our goals and add new ones.
I think the scheduling is very important. If we review our goals every week, we will be stuck in the first step and go nowhere. For me, the best way to review my goal is really simple: I create an event into my calendar in every quarter to review my progress and I review my goals every year.
Between these checks, I just Trust the process and do my job as good as it possible.
Do not forget. These are not rules, just recommendations. As I had already given an example, in the beginning of this post, sometimes I just cannot wait until the next goal review session – In that case, I just do it as soon as possible to avoid to do unnecessary work.
How to review our goals
For each goal, and each larger step, I ask the following questions for myself:
– Is that goal still valid? Do I have to complete it?
– Could I make progress? Can I hold my deadlines?
– Do I need to refactor the goal or align more time?
– Has the priority changed during the last period?
After answering these questions, I will have a list of actions that I have to do.
After the review, there comes a refactor. The result of the review progress is an action plan. I just go through my action list and do all of them. After that, my review and refactor session is complete. I just open a beer and start to work.
Do not forget to refactor all the key points
One thing that I cannot tell enough time: It is really important to check the deadlines, priorities and our committed time that we want to spend on achieving our goals.
There is no reason to just simply modify our goals without thinking through the deadlines. Also, lifestyle changes and it means maybe we cannot spend 15 hours of learning in the week just 10. Skipping these can cause some unacceptable results on our next review session.
As you can see, making our plans is not enough: we have to be prepared for change. There is no reason to fear the change or fight against it. We just have to accept it and make it as less painful as it possible. Also, as much as we can we have to be proactive instead of reactive.