The One Page Doc I Use To Plan Every Project
Before I kick off new jobs, I like to clarify my thoughts with a launch document.
It gives me boundaries and a finish line to work towards. Without these, my work is prone to creep, and my original intentions morph into something completely different.
It’s a one-page doc that doesn’t need more than an hour of thought or 300 words to fill in.
There are 5 sections
Why I’m Doing This
First, I outline why I’m doing this job in a few short sentences.
“I want to build an audience to increase access to opportunities for my future self. Because audiences give you more serendipity and leverage when you want to get shit done.”
“We need to revamp our Tribe membership because our revenue is declining; soon, it’ll cost us money to run. After a lot of effort, we haven’t been able to turn this downtrend around, so we need to do something different.”
There should be one clear reason why you want to do something. I’ve found when I do something for many reasons, I end up doing it for nothing.
What I Want To Happen
Here I state what I’d like to achieve in one sentence.
Vague statements like “I want to launch a newsletter” are useless. These goalposts are too easy to extend or dampen when things change.
Instead, be specific, so the outcome isn’t malleable, and it’s clear whether you’ve achieved it or not.
“I want to launch a newsletter read by 10,000 kiwi business builders by 2023” is better.
I can’t fake this, I achieve it, or I don’t.
What I Don’t Want To Happen
Here is where I add boundaries so I don’t end up in the Sahara looking for water. Restrictions and or limitations force creativity and resourcefulness, making you more effective.
I draw these lines by laying out specific things I don’t want to happen. Such as:
“I won’t spend more than $1,000 or 5 hours per week making this happen.”
“I won’t let this new project negatively impact any ongoing work.”
“I won’t continue the project past June If I’m not enjoying the work.”
These are either negative outcomes I want to avoid or resource restraints.
How It Will Happen
This is my back of the napkin strategy for getting there.
I bullet point a few general actions I think will be useful. I stay away from details – those can come later.
I like to look at these jobs like a noobie and not carry previous assumptions into my equation.
• Write a blog with a newsletter signup form
• Build an audience on a social channel and spotlight the newsletter
• Leverage other people’s audiences to get more readers
Where Do I Start
Finally, I jot down something I can do right now that will build a little momentum.
This is my first step forward, and I like to keep it outcome-based. So rather than ‘research how to write a newsletter, I will ‘create a newsletter template’.
Research is vague and feels like the action but doesn’t lead to a specific outcome. Drafting a template does.
I’ll figure out the rest later.
Now it’s time to work.