In the last post, I talked about limiting a Five Year Plan (FYP) in scope. Now we can discuss magnitude. This is where things get hefty, detailed, and very expansive. If you think about scope as targeting your goal from 1,000 yards away, you want what you see to be very limited. Magnitude is more about the daily/weekly/monthly battle to get to the goal; crossing the battlefield to acquire the target. You need your vision, and planning, to encompass as much as possible (are there bogs, quicksand, enemies dug in, etc.). This is where you get down to the nitty-gritty, make fifteen half-sketched back up plans (so they can be filled in if you need them), and hope you don’t fry your brain in the planning process.

The first steps to any good FYP are research and planning. After you decide on the goal, it is necessary to research the best way(s) to accomplish that goal. When I decided to go to college, I needed to decide which of the many options available were best for me. Based on research and self-knowledge, I decided to best course of action was to pursue a traditional, campus-based college experience. Other people, with the same goal, may have chosen online, mail-based, some combination thereof, or even part-time pursuit, depending on personality, situation, and comfort level. Allow up to two months for research and planning.

Everything from determining first steps (for college: what tests/paperwork are required, deciding on programs/colleges, etc.) to detailing a long term plan (course lists, comparing programs, etc.) is included in this step. It is one of the most important, and single most labor intensive, part of the FYP. Too detailed (day-to-day layout), and you will quickly fall out of step. Too little detail (no deadlines, vague tasks [i.e. get necessary tests vs. research, apply to take, take GED on X date], lack of flexibility) can leave you abandoning ship as soon as life puts a wrinkle in your carpet.

My current FYP plans are loosely timetabled out in the future, with rough deadlines, all in my head. Keep in mind, for some people it will be better to put this on paper. Others can keep the plan in their head. Determine what works for  you. It’s also important to decide whether your deadlines will be hard (find a source of accountability) or soft (be very specific and limited in what is allowed to keep you from making deadlines) based on what works best for you.

Here are a few of the deadlines I have in mind for my current FYP:

  • Middle of February: First non-fiction booklet ready for self-publication
  • End of 2017: At least 3 non-fiction booklets listed on Amazon
  • End of 2018: On schedule publications at least every other month (pref. every month)
  • End of 2020: Prepared to publish novel

As I approach each soft deadline, I will re-evaluate, and confirm a hard deadline.

Next week I’ll discuss fleshing out details, including sharing a few details about my first planned publication; don’t miss it!

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