7 Steps to Creating a Goal Tracker

 

There are seven days left this year. There is still plenty that you can do starting today! I am creating a 7-step goal tracker to help you optimize your time and maximize your output. Below are the December time management series articles:

Happy December, there’s still plenty to do:

http://positivitychange.com/2016/12/happy-december-theres-still-plenty/

Three Things to Do with Three Weeks Left:

http://positivitychange.com/2016/12/three-things-three-weeks-left/

Two Things to Do with Two Weeks Left:

http://positivitychange.com/2016/12/two-things-two-weeks-left/

Ten Things to Do in Ten Days

http://positivitychange.com/2016/12/ten-things-ten-days/

Time is your most precious commodity. It is essential to effectively track your time, resources and progress. Below are the seven steps towards to creating a goal tracker.

  1. Determine what are your definitions of success and progress

These two definitions are indispensable towards creating the goal tracker. Your success definition is what your outcome will be. Your success definition answers the question of what you want to accomplish. Your progress definition is your quality policy. When you measure progress at each milestone, has your product met the quality standard to go to the next phase? If that product does not meet the quality standard then progress has not been met. You cannot advance forward.

  1. Know your resources and people

You have to make sure that you have all of the people and resources needed to execute. If anything is missing, then you must create a contingency plan.

  1. Add milestones

The milestones are the beginning of creating the tracker. You need to start filling out the schedule.  The milestones are the points where you evaluate if the product or work in its current form has met the quality policy.

  1. Write down change management procedures.

A change management plan is necessary because the one thing that is certain is uncertainty. Usually, people create the goal tracker first. However, I think that accepting that change is always going to happen, creating the change management plan first is imperative. For instance, a change management plan tells you how to respond when a product does not meet the quality policy. Some of the things that this plan answers are how do we incorporate changes? When and where do we flag them? Who can approve changes? Creating the change management plan gives you a ready-made answer.

  1. Use 3-point estimation to create contingency plans.

I am introducing a project management concept. The three-point estimate takes the most optimistic (MO), most likely (ML) and most pessimistic (MP) and divide them. Here is the formula:

MO+ 4(ML)+ MP

6

This formula gives you the most likely goals tracker. Another reason why I introduce most optimistic and most pessimistic is because of change. What if you are advancing ahead of schedule, how do you respond to this? The most optimistic schedule will help you. Remember, that only thing that is certain is uncertainty.

  1. Monitor the progress.

Once you create your tracker and start working on your goal, you need to monitor progress and make adjustments accordingly. Consult the change management plan if necessary.

  1. Have a lessons learned section.

A lessons learned section details what has gone right and wrong during this time period. It is very important to assessment what has just happened because you can rely on it in the future. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time. A lessons learned section helps you with this.

Reference: http://www.pmi.org/passport/mar09/passport_mar09_seven-tips-on-how-to-build-a-solid-schedule.html

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Ten Things to Do in Ten Days

 

Welcome to an all-new installment of December’s time management series. Today I will be discussing the ten things that you can do in ten days towards accomplishing your goals. If you have missed this series, here are the other three time management articles:

Happy December, there’s still plenty to do:

http://positivitychange.com/2016/12/happy-december-theres-still-plenty/

Three Things to Do with Three Weeks Left:

http://positivitychange.com/2016/12/three-things-three-weeks-left/

Two Things to Do with Two Weeks Left:

http://positivitychange.com/2016/12/two-things-two-weeks-left/

Below are the ten things to do in ten days. These ten tips will guide you through completing your goals, decluttering your environment, increasing productivity and morale plus building future momentum.

  1. Don’t Panic, Get Organized!

This is not the time to freak out! You have a short time period to accomplish something. Besides panicking is a time waster that you can ill-afford with a deadline right around the corner. Getting organized is a much better way towards spending your time. Organize every outstanding task regardless of time period. Right now during this stage, you just want to acknowledge everything around you.

  1. Focus on the now!

Now we are whittling down on what to do in a time crunch. You have only ten days to complete something; therefore, anything over ten days needs to be abandoned immediately. You need short-term wins right now.

  1. Make lists

Take all of the short term tasks and list them. You want to know all of the outstanding tasks that you still have to do during this ten-day time period.

  1. Prioritize

List these tasks in order of importance with the ones that have the biggest consequences (positive or negative) first. This helps you see where you should throw your attention.

  1. Break it down even further

Many people stop at prioritizing because they feel like listing all of the tasks means that they have accomplished something. That’s wrong because even though something will take less than 10 days does not mean that it is a priority. Some tasks can actually harm your progress towards the most important tasks out there. Eliminating the non-essential short-term tasks save time which you have very little of to begin with.

  1. Schedule down time

You are not a machine! You are a human who eat and sleeps. Oftentimes, when creating the schedule, people leave these things out and the results are disastrous! Remember, that on average a person works 6 ½ hours of an 8-hour day incorporating lunch and scheduled breaks. Be realistic when creating your schedule.

  1. Build in a buffer

Just like you have built in breaks for the people, your schedule needs a buffer too. A buffer gives you leeway just in case something takes longer than expected. I recommend having a 1-2 day buffer on a 10-day schedule just in case. If you are under the gun, you don’t want to create a schedule with no wiggle room. One thing is for certain: there are always surprises which is all the more reason why you create a buffer to protect you from uncertainty.

  1. Set up a goal tracker

You do have to measure your progress in real time. A goal tracker keeps everyone honest by tracking how many milestones and tasks are completed within the allotted time.

  1. Reward Yourself for Progress

This is a morale booster. Reward yourself and your team whenever you have completed a milestone. You are celebrating progress; but also it boosts the morale of your team because you are closer towards your goal.

  1. Kill the Inner Critic

Last but not least, kill the inner critic! Negativity has no place here. Regardless of who did or did not do whatever, you have ten days remaining to accomplish something. The last thing you need is negativity and infighting. Killing the negativity and dissension are two ways towards ensuring that you complete your tasks in ten days.

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Source: https://www.communicaid.com/communication-skills/blog/communication-skills/new-years-resolution-manage-time-effectively/

This Week in PCM: Managing Change for the Remaining 1/3 of the Year

09012016 Time Management

Today is September 1st, the ninth month of this year. If you haven’t completed what you want to thus far, I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: 2/3 of this year is gone. Now, the good news: 1/3 of this year is left and you can still accomplish your goals with four months remaining. You can divide your tasks into quarters. September is the 1st quarter. October is the 2nd quarter. November is the 3rd quarter. December 4th quarter. Prioritize your must have tasks by quarters. Next, fast-track and accelerate mandatory tasks during the 1st quarter (September) by doing more than one task at the same time. Fast-tracking would increase risks which is why you would develop a contingency plan to handle any potential bottlenecks. Monitor the fast-track items’ progress with biweekly reporting to determine if you need to reallocate your resources. Finally, create a monitoring schedule for October through December to complete the fast-track tasks before the end of this year. Following these steps will ensure that you can still complete your mandatory tasks in the final third of the year.

This Week in PCM : Three Steps for Planning for Interruptions

04052016 PositivityChange No Interruptions

 

Life happens. Interruptions occur and we must deal with them while still delivering our work on time, on topic and under budget! Even though we want to always experience positive change, negative things happen. We must adequately prepare ourselves because the work still must get done! Here are my top three things to complete your work even with interruptions.

Add some cushion

Don’t schedule so tight. There will always be some interruptions. I allocate 10% buffer just in case of emergencies. You need a time cushion just in case you have to be the backup representative at a meeting you’re not even supposed to be in because your other colleague is unavailable. Time cushions enable you enough lead time to get back on track and complete your work.

Develop contingency plans

A contingency plan is a backup plan. You need at least one contingency plan in place just in case your original plan doesn’t go according to plan. There are always changes in budgets, priorities, and time so you have to adjust to ensure that the work still gets done. For instance, your operating budget is $1 million but due to the recession, it has been cut to $500,000. Your contingency plan should have been developed just in case one of the triple constraints (scope, cost and time) is cut. Your project scope will have to be cut too. No one cares that the budget is cut. They still want the work done.

I recommend having more than one contingency plan. I have experienced too much change and turbulence in the workplace that I have been forced to create multiple contingency plans. Therefore, have not only plan B but C, D and E if necessary!

Learn to reprioritize

Sometimes after interruptions, your work task priorities shift. Some things are more important than others. When there are quarterly or end-of-the-year deadlines, time—sensitive projects are higher priorities. Quarterly time-sensitive matters and urgent deadlines are interruptions because they only occur every three to four times a year. If your other work shares the same deadline as the high-priority work, management may let you delay submitting it until after the quarter.

Adding cushion, developing contingency plans and learning to reprioritize enable you to bounce back from workplace interruptions and finish your work on time.

Visit PositivityChange for tips to help you manage positive change effectively in your personal and professional lives.

This Week in Positive Change Management: Handling High-Visibility Projects as a Newbie

Follow these four tips towards handling high-visibility projects as a newbie.

  1. Be thankful that someone had entrusted you with this opportunity.

This is a positive change event. Instead of being overwhelmed, be happy to view this as a chance to prove yourself in the marketplace and increase your professional credibility and visibility. Taking this more optimistic viewpoint enables you to devise an approach towards capitalized upon this new assignment.

 

  1. Conduct project and personnel research

First review the project materials. You have to know what you are undertaking. Possessing familiarity with it lets you excel. Next, research the people. You can view their bios on the company Intranet or their LinkedIn profiles. It is essential to know your future colleagues’ personalities and previous work histories so that you can effectively create a staffing management plan to effectively execute the project.

 

  1. Create your own personal project schedule

Creating your own personal project schedule helps you envision it. You can also incorporate a what-if analysis covering any and every possibility because projects never go according to plan. These ready-made answers are necessary because management wants a definitive response regardless of how the people act and the project is going.

 

  1. Practice presenting your plan

Although you’ve never done it before, you are still the project leader and must exude confidence to your workers and management. Having these ready-made answers from your personal project schedule are necessary because management wants a definitive response regardless of how the people act and the project is going.

Visibility Photo 2

This Week in Positive Change Management: Managing Positive Change for the Remaining 1/3 of 2015

Today is September 1st, the ninth month of 2015. If you haven’t completed what you want to thus far, I have good news and bad news. First, the bad news: 2/3 of 2015 is gone. Now, the good news: 1/3 of 2015 is left and you can still accomplish your goals with four months remaining. You can divide your tasks into quarters. September is the 1st quarter. October is the 2nd quarter. November is the 3rd quarter. December 4th quarter. Prioritize your must have tasks by quarters. Next, fast-track and accelerate mandatory tasks during the 1st quarter (September) by doing more than one task at the same time. Fast-tracking would increase risks which is why you would develop a contingency plan to handle any potential bottlenecks. Monitor the fast-track items’ progress with biweekly reporting to determine if you need to reallocate your resources. Finally, create a monitoring schedule for October through December to complete the fast-track tasks before the end of this year. Following these steps will ensure that you can still complete your mandatory tasks in the final third of the year.