I’ve started thinking about my life in 5-year stretches.
Flying back from a convention a few years ago, I wrote down my goals for the year and I realized that thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in 1-year segments was too narrow. I wanted to take a longer term view for two reasons:
- Life Variance — a lot can happen in a year. Relationships can end, you can move to another city, you can quit a job, etc. A single year can feature a lot of variance (“I’m up!” “I’m down!”), but over 5 years, that variance smooths out and you see the effects of small, consistent, compounded improvement.
- Project Length — Larger projects can take a longer time. The projects that I’m most excited about (building up my consulting agency, traveling, learning new skills) can be multi-year projects. By thinking about my life in 5-year segments, I can see how the arc of a project stretches across multiple years, and then backwards plan to the specific goals and actions I should be focusing on now to set myself up for success in Year 5.
- People over estimate what they can do in a year. They under estimate what they can do in five. Let’s pile on a bit more and get a bit more done by working in year year segments.
For (mostly) personal reference, here’s how I’m breaking down the 5-year segments:
These are more a framework on how/where to focus than the specific type of work I want to do.