Tools for planning

Do you feel better about bringing all those ideas you developed  and organised to life?  Can’t wait to get started?

Good!  You’ll enjoy today’s post – all about planning.

My favourite planning tool has a fancy name of a Tree Diagram, but don’t let that put you off.  And don’t panic – you don’t have to draw a tree.

I use it by writing my goal, my outcome, my perfect world, at the far right end of a piece of paper.  I might even add a date.

Then, I work backwards – what needs to happen immediately before my goal?  I write that step, or steps, in the column right next to my goal.  Again, I might add some dates.

I keep going like this until I arrive at the very beginning, at my current situation, today’s date, at the left hand side of my piece of paper.

Here is how I used this tool to plan my recent move to the country:



  • for each level of detail ask – “What needs to happen to achieve this?”
  • record the details/tasks/actions for each sub-goal, creating new levels as you go.

Here is another, more complex example:


As you can see you can work on your plan from left to right, right to left or top to bottom.  You can use project planning software, a piece (or several) of paper, or sticky notes.

A Tree Diagram will give you the broad outline of a project plan.  If your project is complex, or you need to communicate your plan it to others, consider putting together a Project Brief, answering these key questions:

Once you’ve answered those questions, writing up a project brief will be easy.  For some key headings and to download my project brief template go here.

Hopefully, by the time you’ve applied all the tools I’ve brought to you in these three posts, you will be well on your way to making your big idea a reality. From an inkling, a seed in your mind, you’ve been able to develop a project plan and have gained some clarity on both what you want to achieve and how to get there.

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