You may have heard me mention Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen in previous posts, this book is definitely worth a read. It has single handed improved the way I organise and manage my life. Some maybe put off as I was initially thinking this was just for businesses but the methods can be applied to all areas of your life whether that is at home or at work.
For those of you who are not familiar with the GTD methodology and do not have the book to hand here is a link to a 15 Minute Guide to GTD which I use frequently when I do not have my book with me.
David Allen mentions in this book that our brain naturally goes through a planning model which he refers to as the Natural Planning Model. This the process our brain takes when accomplishing tasks and should be applied when we are planning our projects.
So let’s go into detail. There are 5 steps or phases to the Natural Planning Model.
Phase 1: Defining Purpose and Principles
This is where you ask ‘Why?’, what is the aim of what you are intending to do? This phase helps to set the boundaries and scope of your project and provide motivation.
Phase 2: Outcome Visioning
This is you visualise the end result, the outcome you wish to achieve. In order to plan a project you must first ascertain where you want that project to end.
Phase 3: Brainstorming
This is the phase in which you generate ideas for your project. David recommends that you put all your ideas on paper, get them out of your head so you can formulate them in some order. This will help focus on what tasks you need to do.
Phase 4: Organising
In this phase you take all of the ideas from your brainstorming session and formulate them into some form of plan. So you should hopefully have at the end a list of tasks that you will need to accomplish in order to successfully complete your project.
Phase 5: Identifying Next Actions
This is where you make a note of your first/ next physical action that needs completing before you can move on. What immediate action needs to take place so you can move the project on.
Another breakdown of these 5 phases can be found here at The Simple Dollar
I have found applying this method to my project planning extremely helpful when plotting and planning my projects.
To start with I wrote a Master Project list, this was the place I write down all of the projects that pop in my head I want to complete. This is a long-term goals list.
I then took the first project I wanted to complete and write it on a separate sheet of paper, following the Natural Planning Model. This details all the separate parts of the project that need doing for it to be complete. I also list my ‘Why’ and ‘Outcome’.
The next thing that I do is write the first immediate action on my Next Actions list (the thing to remember with the Next Actions list is that it is essentially a To-Do Immediately list). Once I have completed the item I cross it off both lists.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I hope that it inspires you to go read the book or at least look at ways to help improve upon your organisational methods:)
The Stationery Geekette x