The 100 Year Project
By John Mehrmann
Imagine what you could accomplish if you were given 100 years to complete any project of your choosing. How would you approach your project management and your time management? What would your timeline look like?
How many years would you devote to study, observe, listen and learn? You would probably spend several years gathering information, educating yourself and learning as much as possible. Your studies would likely become more focused and detailed as you gain knowledge and expertise related to your project.
How many years would you devote to plan and prepare? Before making any significant investments of time or money, would you establish goals and objectives? Would you take time to develop a strategy with milestones and a plan for successful completion of your project?
How much effort would you put into gathering and nurturing your resources? How would you select the people that you would need to help you accomplish your goals? What characteristics would be required of these people? How would you support your resources in a manner that would help them to be successful? Working with others requires a significant investment of time and effort to support the other team members, and the schedule would need to accommodate time devoted to others. To be successful, there must be common goals, common commitment and common understanding. There must be mutual dedication to shared objectives. How will you accomplish this with your team, your resources and your associates?
If you had 100 years to complete a complex and important project, how would you manage your time in between all of your other responsibilities? How would you balance your time between working on the project and personal relaxation? How often would you stop to measure your progress and direction? How flexible would you be to adjust your schedule or your strategy based on your timeline or your resources? Would you try to accomplish key goals ahead of schedule, or wait until the end of your timeline and hope to reach your objectives? How would it change your timeline if you had 100 years?
Perhaps the most important step is identifying and understanding which objectives are most important for you.
In business, projects may last as long as a year or a business quarter, or be as short as one week. Personal projects may be as short as a weekend, hours or a day. In any case, once the objectives of the project are defined, it is amazing how quickly time passes. The time ahead seems so long, while the time behind seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. Do we plan for the time ahead of us to pass as quickly as the time behind us? If you are truly focused on your goals, it is likely that you will not even notice the time at all. There is sweet satisfaction in accomplishing objectives and discovering the freedom to focus on other important aspirations.
Are you working to accomplish objectives of your own, objectives that have been assigned to you, or a combination of the two? It is likely that you have many different responsibilities to family, friends, associates and work. How do you balance responsibilities to others and your personal commitments? If you were to map out the timeline of your project to accomplish specific goals in 100 years, how would you define your goals and your place on that timeline? How would that change your activities? How would you manage your time and your life?
Every day is a new day when you only have 100 years to live.
John Mehrmann is a freelance writer (as well as an author, speaker and industry expert) and President of Executive Blueprints Inc., an organization devoted to improving business practices and developing human capital.