Backwards planning? Why plan backwards? Why not just plan ahead? Well, backwards planning is really planning ahead – it’s called backwards planning because you start with the end result in mind. More details to come.
I have four siblings, many nieces and nephews, and two sons (one is married). This time of year brings lots of birthdays mixed in with all the holidays. Every time I look at the calendar I’m noticing that one of these relatives has a birthday coming up. So, I use backwards planning to stay on top of all these events.
First, I plot all the birthdays into my calendar. I love my phone for this because it automatically shows the birthday in the calendar function and I only enter them once. I admit, though, that I am very much a paper and pencil person. At the beginning of every year I get out my paper calendar and write in all the birthdays and then I count backwards and note in my calendar when I need to mail the birthday card. I also make a note a few days before the mailing date that I have to go and purchase a card! That is backwards planning!
At this time of year with the holidays approaching (I saw on Instagram yesterday that someone had counted the number of weekends left before Christmas!) backwards planning is a handy strategy to employ. You can use it to help in planning a party, with decorating for the holiday, meal planning or any big project you may have.
Here are the steps to take when using backwards planning:
Tools: paper, pen or pencil, a calendar
- Start with an end date in mind
- On a piece of paper, list all the steps to take in order to complete your task
- Plot each step into your calendar – schedule enough time to complete each small step
The beauty of using this strategy is that backwards planning allows you to get things done in a timely fashion so that you’re not over scheduled and can actually enjoy the process.
Tell me, how will you use backwards planning as we approach this busy time of the year?