This is the third post in a series on life planning. In this series, I am sharing with you the basics of a life plan and why you need one by going through the details of my own LIFE planning process. Neither my plan nor my process are perfect. In fact, they are evolving from year to year. My hope is that you can take what I do (or even just parts of it) and use it to create your own plan.
LIFE Plan Document
In my last post, I gave you a detailed description and break-down of my main LIFE Plan document. I described my Roles, Focus Areas, and Goals. I gave you a couple of samples from these areas. I also gave you access to download my [Title Page Summary] and [Godly Father Role].
As you can probably guess, combining all of these pieces into a complete document makes for a long document. The length of the document made it difficult to quickly review it on a regular basis. While I considered cutting it down, I just could not figure out which parts to eliminate.
Dashboard as Summary
So, as a result, I decided I needed a “dashboard” of sorts. With a one-page summary, I felt I could use this document in a weekly review process. I used a compilation of several resources I had found (and created a spreadsheet that would represent the month to month living out of my LIFE Plan. This Dashboard is made up of many sections, or “Gauges”, that help me keep my overall LIFE plan at the forefront of my mind.
Roles, Focuses, and Goals Gauges
For the first section, I started with the eight roles and laid out the sheet in a way that would allow me to see all eight Roles and the corresponding Focus Areas. Then, I left three blanks under each Role for monthly Goals. Each month, I update my monthly Goals, leaving the Roles and Focus Areas the same throughout the year.
Take a look at the picture below to get an idea of what I mean. (Note the Roles and Focus Areas have changed…this is part of my dashboard from December 2010)
As I have said several times, this whole process has evolved over time for me. You may want to stop right there and let your dashboard include only your Roles, Focuses, and Goals Guages. I started here, but have since added to mine. I will share the rest of my Dashboard with you and let you decide if any of it is interesting to you.
In his book Now, Discover Your Strengths, Marcus Buckingham describes how working on your strengths is the best strategy. At the end of the book, you take a test and are told your top strengths. I really found the material to be enlightening and began determining how I could apply it to my life.
In a sequel to Buckingham’s book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, author Tom Rath details out a list of 10 strategies for developing each strength described. I picked the top two or three of those actions for each of my top four strengths and put them on my dashboard.
Take a look at this picture to see how this looks.
Across the bottom of the LIFE plan Dashboard, I added four more sections based on what I felt was most important to review regularly. You may substitute your own categories here, but I included the following:
1. Prayer Focus – a listing of various ongoing areas in which I focused my prayer
2. Reading/Listening Plan – a list of the books and audio for that month
3. 360 Assessment – my top ten concern areas from a 360 degree assessment of me
4. Scripture – a list of references to the 15-20 verses I am trying to memorize
Here is a visual of these gauges.
To close out the bottom of my LIFE Plan Dashboard, I wanted something to keep me focused on the big picture. I learned in my C12 group that I should always be ready with a conversation-starting response to the question, “What do you do for a living?” I used this answer to close out my dashboard.
I work for an unusual company. It is an car dealership group that is a Christian company. We are trying to learn, and to show, how Jesus would run a company if He were the boss.
So, there it is! That is my LIFE Plan Dashboard, in all its glory! If you want to see the entire document together, just [Click Here].
Some of you are thinking I am crazy and others are thinking I am weak. That is fine! I can handle it!
Regardless of what you are thinking, I encourage you to do something similar. I will go into more detail about how I use this Dashboard in my final post in this series, but for now, I urge you to think about what you could create that would be easy to review on a weekly basis. Keeping your life plan in front of you in some shape or form will keep you closer to the path God has revealed to you.
What is your reaction to this dashboard?
Do you see how you could benefit from a weekly review of your life plan?
What do you see to be your next step in the life planning process?
Originally posted 1/26/12