GTD Day 7 – Natural Planning Techniques: The 5 Phases

My Blog Block

My dear friend, Leslie A., made this. She's very creative, isn't she?

Chapter 3, day 2 of 3.  We’ll discuss the first 3 today.

Thinking more effectively can make things happen sooner and more successfully.  Putting the 5 phases of the Natural Planning Model into focus will help us get to that place of success.

I.  Purpose and Principles:  Purpose is where you ask the “why?” question.  Some of the benefits of asking the question would be:

  1. “It defines success.
  2. It creates decision-making criteria.
  3. It aligns resources.
  4. It motivates.
  5. It clarifies focus.
  6. It expands options.”

If you want to win or be successful at anything, you must be clear about the purpose of what you’re doing.  “If there’s no good reason to be doing something, it’s not worth doing.”  Just taking two minutes and writing out your main reason for doing something sharpens your vision.  Ask yourself, “What are we really trying to accomplish here?”

When you put the why into focus, “it opens up creative thinking about wider possibilities.”  Doesn’t that sound exciting?  Wider possibilities . . .  Makes me think the sky’s the limit.  There’s really nothing we can’t do, if we set our minds to it. 

Your purpose needs to be clear and specific.  “To have a good department,” for example, might be too broad a goal.  After all, what constitutes a “good department”?  Is it a group of people who are highly motivated, collaborating in healthy ways, and taking initiative?  Or is it a department that comes in under budget?  In other words, if you don’t really know when you’ve met your purpose or when you’re off track, you don’t have a viable directive.  The question “How will I know when this is off-purpose?” must have a clear answer.”

“Of equal value as prime criteria for driving and directing a project are the standards and values you hold.”  If your principles “are violated, the result will inevitably be unproductive distraction and stress.  How do you want or need to work with others on this project to ensure its success?  You yourself are at your best when you’re acting how?  Whereas purpose provides the juice and the direction, principles define the parameters of action and the criteria for excellence of behavior.”

II – Vision/Outcome:  “You must have a clear picture in your mind of what success would look, sound, and feel like.  Vision provides the actual blueprint of the final result.  This is the “what?” instead of the “why?”  What will this project or situation really be like when it successfully appears in the world?  For example, graduates of your seminar are demonstrating consistently applied knowledge of the subject matter.  Market share has increased 2 percent within the northeastern region over the last fiscal year.  Your daughter is clear about your guidelines and support for her first semester in college.”

“The Power of Focus:  We know that the focus we hold in our minds affects what we perceive and how we perform.  When you focus on something, that focus instantly creates ideas and thought patterns you wouldn’t have had otherwise.  Even your physiology will respond to an image in your head as if it were reality.  Something automatic and extraordinary happens in your mind when you create and focus on a clear picture of what you want.”

Clarifying Outcomes:  “You won’t see how to do to it until you see yourself doing it.  We need to constantly define (and redefine) what we’re trying to accomplish on many different levels, and consistently reallocate resources toward getting these tasks completed as effectively and efficiently as possible.  What will this project look like when it’s done?  How do you want the client to feel, and what do you want him to know and do, after the presentation?  Where will you be in your career three years from now?  How would the ideal V.P. of finance do his job?  What would your Web site really look like and have as capabilities if it could be the way you wanted it?”

The three basic steps for developing a vision are:

  1. “View the project from beyond the completion date.
  2. Envision “WILD SUCCESS”!  (Suspend “Yeah, but . . .”)
  3. Capture features, aspects, qualities you imagine in place.”

III.  Brainstorming – This is the “how”.  “Writing things down, or capturing them in some external way, can give a tremendous boost to productive output and thinking.”

Capturing Your Ideas:  There are a number of brainstorming techniques to develop creative thinking about projects and topics—things like “mind-mapping, clustering, patterning, webbing, and fish-boning.  Give yourself permission to capture and express any idea, and then later on, figure out how it fits in and what to do with it.  The most popular of these techniques is called mind-mapping, a name coined by Tony Buzan, a British researcher in brain functioning.  The core idea is presented in the center, with associated ideas growing out in a somewhat free-form fashion around it.  For instance, if I found out that I had to move my office, I might think about computers, changing my business cards, all the connections I’d have to change, new furniture, moving the phones, purging and packing, and so on.” 

There is a mind-map on page 71, illustrating these thoughts graphically.  “You could do this kind of mind-mapping on Post-its that could be stuck on a whiteboard, or you could input ideas into a word processor or outlining program on the computer.”

I googled free mind-mapping software and found a free 7 day iMindMap trial by going to, then clicking on iMindMap software, download free trial and follow the instructions.  Took several minutes to download, but then, my computer is low on memory right now.  Trying to move pictures to cds and delete from hard drive – pictures take up way too much memory.

Make it a super-duper Saturday!  I’m gonna!  Love ya!  *hug*



About Carol B Sessums

Writer, Editor, Coffee Addict, Lover of Mountains. Lives to shrink the planet, one story and connection at a time.
This entry was posted in Body, Mind and Soul, Book Study, Books, Self-help, Self-improvement and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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