Is it possible to apply the same principles used in writing a Gantt Chart to set personal milestones and keep track of your career and life goals?

Setting milestones
When you want to succeed as much as you want to breath then you will be successful. (Eric Thomas)

During the early years of my career, I was intrigued by the clever way that a Gantt Chart is able to provide useful insights for project management, by planning tasks and fine tuning timelines.

As we worked on the Gantt Chart, my boss at the time kept on telling the team, “I want you to think of any internal or external factors that could prevent this team from achieving the project’s overall goal.”

By asking this simple question, the boss was able to put the team in a state of mind of first identifying any potential threats that were likely to disrupt the running of the project, and in so doing, we were able to create the best scenarios of averting the identified threats.  The information was then translated in to activities, that were later placed on a Gantt Chart, to keep track of the project’s implementation for a period of two years.

At the end of the exercise we were able to gain a good understanding of the work breakdown structure consisting of who does what, resources needed, time allocation, and what needed to be done by the team in order to stay on track.

At a personal level, you can also use the same principles applied by projects that use a Gantt Chart, to set milestones and keep track of your life and career goals.   To get started, you need to ask yourself these three simple questions:

1)   What is getting in the way, that is stopping me from making progress?

This question will help you to assess the level of your self-discipline and focus.  Big or small, the size of your goals do not matter—what matters is how much you want to succeed to get things done.  Come rain-or-shine, you must be disciplined and focused for you to get to the finish line.

2)     If I was in a ‘do-or die’ situation and my life depended on what I am doing, what would I do differently?

This question will help you to take stock of your skills and knowledge (both existing and required), and the determination you have to succeed, which is more constructive than complaining about what you do not have, or depending on other people to make things happen for you—which in reality rarely happens.  For you to succeed you need to seize the opportunity, rather than depend on others.  ‘Do-it-yourself’ is the best way to go.

3)      What is working really well for others pursuing a similar venture as mine—that I can borrow and replicate?

This question will help you to seek for advise and learn from others.  Skills and knowledge are improved by learning from others, and one thing to always remember is that an expert was once a learner.

The answers to these questions will form a good basis for developing a tracker for our career and life goals, because at this point you will be able to identify all the necessary resources you need to be able to implement your goals, in terms of skills, budget, time allocation, and equipment, among others.  The answers will also act as a good reminder to you, on why it is important to successfully pursue your goals up to the end.  You were born to win.  Good luck!