Prevent Wasted Effort by Beginning With the End in Mind

It’s Monday, closing time, and in four days your week will be over.

Where will you find yourself Friday afternoon? What will you have accomplished?

Most people don’t know. They begin each day, do what they can, and try to “finish things up” Friday afternoon before cashing out for the weekend.

I’ve been there. Living day to day, never knowing how much I can get done, never planning a path my goals.

But that had to change when I started managing projects, when I started running my own businesses, and when I found that inner drive, which now pushes me to accomplish more and more every year.


There’s a planning concept Project Managers use to ensure they get their projects done on time called Backwards Planning. Steven R. Covey has a more elegant name for this concept in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Begin with the end in mind.

Beginning with the end in mind means looking ahead to clearly define what you want your upcoming week, your next project, and your big goals to look like when finished.

If you just start working on the first task, two things will happen:

☝️Work will expand to fill the time allotted.
✌️You’ll never know if your deadline is reasonable.
🤟 It will be impossible to see the path through to the end, making it highly likely you’ll run into problems along the way.

When you begin with the end in mind, you can see the big picture. You can clearly visualize the end goal, list the milestones you’ll need to hit along the way, and schedule the tasks you’ll need to finish get there.

Who’s going to get to the mountain peak the fastest and safest: the hiker who just starts hiking, or the hiker who plans a route to the top?

Begin with the end in mind. Every day, Every week. Every month. Every year.

It’s the one way to guarantee that the daily effort you’re investing doesn’t end up wasted.

If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.
— Dr. Steven R. Covey

About the Author


Michael Mehlberg


I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

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