My Life as IT Code: Part 3 – the Flow Chart

Previously, I’ve spoken of project management and microservices as analogous to life management. To me these have seemed to be really functional and have been so very helpful to my thought process regarding the goals I have set for myself in life. I hope that in some small way they’ve helped you to envision the things you want to change in your own life, and how you may be able to approach those changes as well.

In this, the third portion of the “My Live as IT Code” series, I’ll take those ideas, and try to explain how I visualize, and organize my approach. From a project manager’s perspective, the Flow Chart has always been an important tool. I outlined a precedence diagram, that I’d created for a project undertaken long ago regarding the replication and disaster recovery project for a multi-site large law firm, who’d leveraged VMware based virtual machines, and citrix remote desktop, along with storage to storage replication in an effort to maintain consistent uptime regardless of the reasons for downtime. In that vein, I’d broken up individual time-streams into flow charts, giving the individual stakeholders clear indications of their personal tasks, and shown them the milestones as they related to the project as a whole. These I delivered both as Gantt Charts, and flow charts. The differentiation was in how the projects could be visualized, showing time used per task, as well as the tasks, discretely broken up into their constituent parts.

This same technique is applicable to some of these lifehacks. While it can be difficult to assign timeframes to weight loss, for example, the milestones themselves can be quite easy to demarcate. There are, with some creative thinking, methods by which one may be able to achieve viable metrics against which progress can be marked, and effective tools for the establishment of reasonable milestones can be elucidated.

There are great tools to aid in exercise programs, which enforce daily or weekly targets, and these are great to leverage in one’s own plan. I think of one I have on my phone entitled 7 minute workout, and I also note my daily steps, using the fitness trackers application on both my phone and on my smartwatch. The growth of these tools, along with the use of a scale, can show a graphic progress along the path to your goals. Weight loss is never a simple downward slope, but rather a decline that tends toward plateaus then restarts. However, as your progress does move forward, so, in turn, does the use of a graphical representation of your weightloss encourage more work along those lines. To track this, for me, the best tool is a spreadsheet with graphing on a simple x/y axis to graphically represent my effective progress. I do not suggest the rigid attention to the scale, as these plateaus can be detrimental to the emotional effect of how one sees one’s progress.

I’ve never been a runner, but the ability to define distance plans, time to these distances, and delineations of the progress along those paths are most easily translatable to a flow chart. It’s important to know what you’re doing and rather than saying things like “I’m going to lose 40lbs in 2018,” one may be able to say things like, “I plan on walking 10,000 steps per day, or 5 miles per day, for example, and stick to these kinds of commitments.

Meanwhile, the creation and attention to the flow chart is a hugely effective tool to keep a person on-track, help them to pay attention to their goals, and allows one to celebrate the milestones they’ve set out for themselves.

As I’ve stated, the Flow Chart can be an amazing tool. And when looking at life goals as if you were a project manager, with defined timeframes and goals, I recommend quite highly this approach. The ability to visualize your goals, milestones, intent can really assist in keeping top of mind, the thoughts and approaches you use in a daily basis.

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