Why would you start something with the end in mind? It might sound funny, but hear me out. In the design and construction industry, this is how we operate. A client contacts us, we design their project, we build their project, and then we turn the building over to them. There is somewhat of a defined beginning, middle, and end to the project. You have the scope of work and know what needs to be done. As the design and construction team, you have it laid out. When the project is completed, you go through the punch list and turn the keys over to the owner.
There is a defined beginning, middle, and end. With most things in life, you need to think about the end in mind. There will typically be an end, you just don’t know when or where it’s going to be. Thinking about the end helps your mind to compartmentalize the situation, issue, project, etc. It helps you break it up into manageable pieces instead of one big activity. Knowing the end goal or destination helps you put a plan together and work through the plan and tasks at hand. It also keeps you focused. If you need to adjust the plan, that’s fine — you can be flexible and change it, but having the end in mind helps you understand where you need to go. By having a defined beginning, middle, and end, you know the path you must take to get there.
To relate this to the business world, know what the end will look like and phase it that way. This makes it easier from an expectations and billing standpoint. Phase things, so the client knows what they are getting for each phase. Setting up the scope of work and expectations in writing helps the entire team understand what’s included (or not included). We are all guilty of this and not stopping to really evaluate the expectations and scope of work.
When starting something, think about the end. It may not ultimately be what happens, but if you’ve at least thought about it you’ll have a better idea of the roadblocks and issues that may arise. Even outside of business, there are many aspects of life where applying this practice will help!