The greatest challenge in any large project, is keeping the daily tasks aligned with the long term goal.
It’s very easy to get lost in the details and the daily grind, and forget the big picture. Then you look up after two weeks of “hard work” to see where you’re at, and find you are no closer to your goal.
As with many challenges we all face in life, it’s partly due to a fundamental limitation of the human brain. We simply can’t keep our mind on the big picture, while we’re working on the details. And since we can only make progress by doing the daily detailed tasks, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed or lost.
With Gingko, we have an alternative approach: hierarchical goals. While not a new idea, Gingko is better suited to displaying these goals than most other software out there.
Setting Hierarchical Goals
The first step to setting your goals, is to decide on the timeframes you want to use.
Here are some choices for the three columns:
- Monthly > Weekly > Daily
- Bimonthy > Biweekly > Daily
- Quarterly > Monthly > Weekly
This is a matter of personal preference, of the type of projects you’re working on, and also (unfortunately) is subject to Gingko’s current 3 level limit.
For my goals, I’ve started using a “Monthly > Weekly > Daily” layout, because I find that this sets a good pace of progress via Parkinson’s law: each week is a deadline. As is each month.
Writing a Hierarchical Journal
This approach can also be used to write a journal, a logbook, or a changelog. To do so, simply use the same system, but update it with what you’ve done, instead of what you plan to do.
This is a great technique because it forces you to look back over your week, and see not just all the little tasks you’ve accomplished, but whether it amounted to anything important. And the same goes for the month.
Using Gingko this way turns it into a 3-track timeline, that lets you see both the past and the future at three different scales.
I think that diligent use of Gingko in this way can really help keep your life and your work in perspective, and make sure you are moving towards the life and work you want to create.