Do you know fewer than a third of the projects started by an individual ever get completed?

How come?

Because without realising it most of us plan reactively. We jump into taking action without asking “Why?

And from there on fate and circumstances pretty much dictate the course ahead.

Something urgent and insistent is always waiting round the corner to distract us from what is important.

And we lose sight of the why (purpose) and the where to (outcome) in search of the how!

Good News!The Natural Planning Model to the Rescue

Stop what you are doing and pat your back!

Do it!

You are the most efficient and lucid planning machine nature has created. As David Allen puts it, “You are a master planner”.

But why do these damned projects get you so hung up?

It is mainly due to the fact that you go against your own instincts. When you start a project, you are bent on being practical. And that means, start taking action ASAP.

Guess what… that is the recipe for chaos.
Don’t worry though. Because in this post you are going to be introduced to the framework that your brain is already hard wired to follow and which will usher in great success in projects. Ladies and gentleman…meet the Natural Planning Model (NPL).

The NPL comprises of 5 steps:

  • Step 1: Defining Purpose and Principles will help you get clear on why you are doing the project. It will get you to align with your ultimate long term vision and analyse just how close the project will take you to your goals. Result? You will never run out of motivation. Even when you have to slog it out on the mundane aspects of your tasks.
  • Step 2: Outcome Visioning nudges you to “see” what complete success looks like. When you know exactly what is at stake (and what you stand to lose), you start and finish the project without procrastination.
  • Step 3: Brainstorming comes next. Now is the time to let loose the creative thinker in you. Jot down all the possible things you might need to do over the course of the project, how to tackle each item and the resources needed. Even though this is rather free flowing the first two steps ensure some kind of structure and pointers to follow.
  • Step 4: Organizing is where you get practical. You take each to-do, assign it a priority based on what wild success means to you and you sequence the tasks based on their importance to the project.
  • Step 5: Next Action. Ah..you know this right? You take the to-do with the highest priority and ask “What’s the Next Action?” till you are left with the “quark” of your project – that which can’t be broken down any further.

It is simple, effective and most importantly what you were born doing. It’s just that the MBA degrees and the life lessons had you confused somewhere along the line!

If you want to learn more about the Natural Planning Model, grab a copy of Getting Things Done® – The Art of Stress Free Productivity or join a GTD Level 2 workshop happening near you.