A couple folks wrote in responding to Vibes and years asking how I did annual planning.

I start with a question: "if I had a magic wand, what things would I want to change about the business?" My answers can be concrete or abstract; they can be lofty or object-level. They just have to be the right answers, and they have to be honest.

For instance, when I went through this exercise in December the first few answers that came to mind were:

And so on.

Once I have a list of answers that feel correct, I shape them into concrete deliverable projects:

You get the idea.

There's no real shaping or scoping or sizing or any of that — the exercise is to get the project into a single sentence that is clear and falsifiable. Then it becomes a project for the year.

That's it!

I think it's easy to underestimate how long a year is, and how much good work — when it's focused wisely and tactically — can be done. Even now, a "bad" week in terms of technical productivity means only fifteen or so hours of flow; extrapolate that out to a year, and that's 750 hours. Buttondown is not large; there are very few projects that could not be accomplished within 750 hours.

Giving yourself permission to devote yourself to a task is a superpower.

Lightning bolt
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