Like many, we at The Presentation School are in the process of planning out our projects and plans for the new year.  And maybe like you, we’ve got all kinds of ideas we’re excited about.  Alas, our enthusiasm may be bigger than our available time and energy.  (No doubt a problem many of us have.)  Recognizing that, we’re going through a process that you can use to plan our your own year timeline (or perhaps a Gantt chart?)

Our process:

  1. We’re writing out everything that we’re interested in doing this year
  2. After we’ve written that list, we’re going through the list and writing down related dates
  3. To figure out our real priorities, we’re going to put the list away, grab a pad of paper and do a mindmap.  The word we’re going to mindmap on is:  goals.  (Learn more about mindmaps here)  We do mindmaps while doing something else, like watching tv.  We only spend 15 minutes on them at a time.  The goal is to find what really is top of mind so we can figure out what to focus on.
  4. We’ll then review the mindmap and highlight any themes we see.  We’ll then take those goals and write them down on a vertical piece of paper, each goal as a column header.  We’ll go back to the big list from step 1 and start slotting activities into those goals.  Anything that doesn’t fit one of our goals will be put on another list called “The Parking Lot”
  5. We will then take a bunch of post-it notes out and will write down one activity on a post-it note.  On a wall, we will put post-it notes with each month of the year, from left to right (Jan-Dec).  Then we will take the activity post-its and will put them up on the wall.  This way we can see when our activities are denser.  Being post-it notes, we can take them off the wall and move them around.  We’ll also keep planning time for each of these activities in mind.
  6. Once we’re satisfied with what we’ve got on the wall, we’ll be able to put these activities in our calendar.  Since we like to see big pictures, we’ll create a Gantt chart for the year with all the activities.  Once chart for each project.
Hopefully this methodology will be helpful to you, too!  If you go ahead and use any of these tips, please post your images.  We’d love to see them!