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Planning 100 Days Ahead

For a while I ran a little mailing list called “1000 days.” It was supposed to track plans and ideas and techniques that people were using to look at their life 3+ years into the future, and to think about all of the techniques you could use to be aware of your responsibilities and options that far ahead of time. After over a month of inactivity there and a bunch of changes in my own life I started to realize that while that’s a very useful perspective to have for a lot of things, it’s also really good and important and useful to keep a zoomed-in focus on what is happening in the next 100 da

For a while I ran a little mailing list called “1000 days.” It was supposed to track plans and ideas and techniques that people were using to look at their life 3+ years into the future, and to think about all of the techniques you could use to be aware of your responsibilities and options that far ahead of time.

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After over a month of inactivity there and a bunch of changes in my own life I started to realize that while that’s a very useful perspective to have for a lot of things, it’s also really good and important and useful to keep a zoomed-in focus on what is happening in the next 100 days in your life. Conveniently that’s about the size of a fiscal quarter, the time between estimated tax payments if you’re doing that, and in some handy way just enough time to go from idea to prototype for a lot of new ventures.

Here are some good sources for other people thinking about how to look at the first 100 days of a project:

100-days, a new Yahoo group on the topic that replaces my earlier 1000 days Google effort. Just getting started.

Here, Innovation is No Fluke, a 1997 Fast Company story about Fluke which used “Phoenix Teams” to get new ideas off the ground. “Teams get 100 days and $100,000 to generate rough proposals for new business opportunities. They spend another 100 days preparing a refined business plan for their best proposal. If the business plan is solid, senior executives green light the launch.”

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Miss Bindergarten celebrates the 100th day of kindergarten (AADL) – also see Paige McGeorge’s “100th Day of School” list on Amazon. Kindergartens everywhere mark the passage of time through the year and teach counting by celebrating the 100th day that kids have been in class.

John Coyne’s How to Write a Novel in 100 Days or Less, with 100 pages, one for each day. His day 3 reads: “In the first week, decide upon the story you are going to write. You might not work out every detail, but today you are going to begin the process. You are not going to procrastinate — procrastination is your enemy.”

“Slacker Manager’s” The First 100 days, on using a 100-day action plan as an interview technique for new jobs. He got a gig by distinguishing himself from the rest of the candidates through presenting a clear set of goals for the first 15, next 70, and next 15 days on the job which made it clear that he knew what he was getting into and how long it might take to accomplish.

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Patti Brotherton’s “The 90-Day Rule” talks about how the real estate sales cycle is about 90 days long (well, that’s close enough to 100 days) so that what you are doing to plan and prospect for sales now will show benefits when 90 days have passed. For sales people with pipelines to fill and prospects to work this is one start at a good perspective (though I am sure there are entire training seminars around this one idea).

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