Which Time Horizons Do You Use?

I got a link from Colin Lewis on Twitter that took me to Ed Batista: Time Horizons. Don’t miss that at the end there is a 2-slide PowerPoint version of the post

It’s an interesting article that made me think about which time horizons I use and why. Ed writes that ‘The 10 time horizons (See image) flow continuously from this immediate moment to my very last breath’.

I don’t agree with that, there are three horizons that I see as ‘timeless’ in the sense that we don’t know when it happens and how they fit in among the other. They are ‘in this job’, ‘in this career’ and ‘before I retire’. We can plan for them but I think these three horizons are on a different scale.

Ed Batista gives us these questions that help us check if we are using the right time horizon.

When we assess our lives–our fulfillment, our effectiveness, what’s working, what’s not working–how far ahead do we look? How far ahead should we look? Is that time horizon a good fit for the issues under consideration? And what issues are most relevant to us in a given time horizon?

when looking ahead it’s helpful to realize that I’ve moved from one horizon into the next. It prompts me to ask: Am I in the right timeframe? Should I take a step back–or jump even further ahead? Should my approach change? Am I still asking the right questions? Are the same issues in play?

The time horizons that I use are:
• Now.
• Today.
• This week.
• One month.
• 12 months.

I use An 18 Minute Plan That Keeps You Focused which means you refocus once an hour during the day. That keeps me on track with Now and Today.

The timeless horizons that I use are the same as Ed’s:
• In this job.
• In this career.
• Before I retire.

Which Time Horizons Do You Use?

This was originally posted at Forty Plus Two, another blog of mine.

4 thoughts on “Which Time Horizons Do You Use?

  1. Hi Bengt – I read the posts as I received them and yours suits me better. I’m a “now to 18 months” kind of girl! I’m not sure any more that you can plan anything around jobs/careers as bench marks, as we are all finding a need to be more flexible with regard to jobs and change our perceptions regarding longer term employment. I don’t think of myself as retiring. If I do have a timeless horizon it’s centred on health and energy notions. Things I want to do while I can still ( walk, ride a bike, etc….!) But then you can’t manage that accurately either!

    Does any of that make sense? Just some thoughts out loud really!
    Best

  2. I agree that jobs/careers are not easy to plan, neither is ‘before I retire’. That’s one more reason why I want them on another scale or dimension.

    Health and energy is an interesting perspective, yet another dimension to deal with. But we can plan related activities into our regular time horizons while maintaining an overview on the side.

  3. Hi Bengt,
    I’m glad you found my framework useful. I fully agree that the last 4 horizons (from “In This Job” to “Before I Die”) are “timeless” and thus unbounded while the first 6 are sharply constrained, and so someone may want to consider them as essentially separate scales. As I mentioned in my post, these are the 10 horizons that make the most sense for me personally, and I encourage anyone using this framework to adapt it to their needs. But that said, I also like the idea of blending these two different types of time horizons–the “timeless” ones and the “bounded” ones–in a single framework. My primary goal in creating the framework in the first place was helping coaching clients insure that the issues they’re working on are appropriate to the time horizon under consideration (and vice versa.) I often see people wrestling with long-term career changes when it might be more productive to think about what’s going to happen this week, or people who are tightly focused on today’s events, when it might be more meaningful to think about their life’s purpose.

    I love the 18-minute plan you link to–very concise and inspiring.
    Ed

  4. Hi Ed,
    The time horizons are a really useful concept. It’s often that people, me included, try to cram things into the wrong time frame. The horizons help us see what belongs where.

    How we deal with “timeless” and “bounded” horizons is more of a personal view, what suits us best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.