Ode to Planning

We are in week seven of our summer fellowships. Crazy.

There is much to be done to complete the research I am doing at the Women’s Fund, and the thought “three weeks left” is… startling.  But I am on track to complete my project at the end of three weeks, as planned.

Sitting here in week seven, writing this post, it is comforting to have that plan laid out.  There will be no stressful, college-finals-week scramble to get it done.  Having a plan to complete the report provides the assurance that it will get done.

This summer has taught me a lot about the value of setting achievable and measurable goals.  In the first weeks of my internship, the goals I outlined for the summer were too broad.  I found that my work day-to-day was scattered and at the end of the day I could not measure the progress I had made.  Ten weeks seemed like a lot of time, but developing and conducting a research project from start to finish is a complex task.

So, thanks to a bit of advice from co-workers (and my mother, she’s the best), I restructured my goals along a detailed week-by-week timeline.  I made a heading for each of the nine weeks that were left. And under each heading I made a list of tasks that I needed to accomplish that week in order to get to the final product: “Turn in final copy to Beth.”

This tool has been much more useful.  It has allowed me to focus on one task at a time, and to see the progress I make each day.  I have learned that, when working on a ten-week project, it is necessary to have one week projects to accomplish along the way.

Plus, with this timeline, I get the satisfaction of crossing things off the list every day.  So for the rest of week seven (and eight and nine) I will keep chipping away at the bulk of the final product until August 16th which says “Say farewell to friends at WFCO and present project at TCF.”  I know if I stay on track, my report will be ready, and so will I.

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