I recently went to a facilitation workshop and learned the “9 Knowledge Areas of Project Management. " These knowledge areas are pieces of the jigsaw puzzle of success in successfully managing a project; any project.
But, why is it that projects at work or in our vocations are given more priority and planning than the ‘main project’ that is our life? In truth, we hardly ever think of our life journey - from cradle to grave. What will it be like later in life when we might finally be forced into reflecting over the life we've lived - will there be any regrets? Project managing life might help identify, and therefore prevent, some of these regrets and assist us capitalise on what time we have ahead of us.
Using the 9 Knowledge Areas, here are some considerations in planning our lives; the ‘main project':
1. Scope: What are the boundaries we need to operate within? We need boundaries or life can become awfully unbalanced. We need to ensure we don't over-extend ourselves. What two or three things are you going to really focus your life on? Considerations include: family, friends, a sporting interest, career, a pastime, spending time in nature, or a skill we want to develop. You can phrase this as a ‘life purpose’ in one sentence if you like.
2. Time: We all get the same time, 24 hour days; seven days in one week etc. How to make the most of our time, in fulfilling our life purpose, and still remain balanced is a crucial step in finding our equilibrium. Our use of time is the most fundamental statement of our lives.
3. Risk: Taking risks is required in life yet some risks have dire consequences, whilst others not taken mean lost opportunities. Like the previous two, risk is a pendulum. Knowing what risks to take and when to take them is really important. As a rule of thumb risks need to be carefully weighed; we should only take well-calculated risks, based always in wisdom.
4. Cost: What are the costs for where you're going? This is not simply a monetary question. What will you have to forego, and what will you have to save and spend to get there? Money and other resources are simply tools for getting us to where we're destined to go. It has its purpose and that's all.
5. Human Resources: What human beings do you have access to? - To learn from; to utilise in getting places or in terms of knowledge. What relationships will you need / want to foster? What human resources (types of people) will you need access to? Who will you need to associate with?
6. Procurement: Supplies. We've dealt with the human element above but what “things" will you need to enable you to meet your objectives and achieve your goals. For instance, if you wanted to become a professional sportsperson, you'd need the best training and game day equipment.
7. Communications: This is a key in any life quest - being able to communicate effectively is highly valuable skill. Both in core (actual field of endeavour) and auxiliary (supporting that field) functions, the value of sound communications cannot be overestimated. Invest in developing your communications skills.
8. Quality: Ensuring everything you do meets a certain standard is important for reliability. If people can rely on you and what you do for them, it will go a long way towards success for you. Consistency is highly underrated.
9. Integration: Lastly, everything above needs to be considered together - as an integrated package. The whole project (your life) is of greater value than the sum of its (compartmentalised) parts.
Seeing your life in terms of a project lasting your lifetime is a wonderful way to gain perspective of the whole. I don't know about you, but I would hate to get to the twilight years and wonder ‘what might have been’ had I planned and mused about my life more and earlier on.
Being deliberate and intentional about life means we'll inevitably get so much more from it.
Copyright © 2008, Steven John Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Steve Wickham is a safety and health professional (BSc) and a qualified lay Christian minister (GradDipDiv). His passion in vocation is facilitation and coaching; encouraging people to soar to a higher value of their potential. Steve's key passion is work / life balance and re-creating value for living, and an exploration of the person within us.