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Why You Need a 5-Year Plan

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

It's no secret that nearly all hiring and promotion decisions are based on one thing: research! But, how do you ensure you are working consistently toward your goals?

Well, the secret is the 5-year plan.

I know. It sounds scary! I don't even know what I'm having for lunch, how can I know where I will be in 5 years?

And you are not alone. Many of my academic clients come to me with maybe 1 or 2 immediate goals in mind (e.g., publish a book), but rarely have they stepped back to consider a longer horizon.

It's easy to get caught up in the culture of urgency and fail to think about the "big picture." Many of us move from one project to the next, accepting ALL the invitations, and basically just cross our fingers that when we get to the tenure review it will be enough.

If this sounds too familiar, let me introduce you to the 5-year plan. This is a plan that outlines all of your top-line goals in three main areas:

  1. public scholarship

  2. grants/fellowships/awards, and

  3. peer-reviewed scholarship

Balance is key here. You cannot focus only on public scholarship or ignore grants and fellowship applications. I advise clients to aim for one entry in every category every 2 years or so.

Having this all in one place will help you to:

  • Align your tasks (and invitations) to bigger goals. It's always flattering to be invited to write or speak in public venues. But multiple, unpaid speaking invitations do nothing for your promotion application, so having a list allows you to focus on other things.

  • Avoid the last-minute panic of application deadlines for conferences and fellowships. These are all included in the 5-year plan, so there are no surprises.

  • Visualize your progress over time.

  • Accurately forecast your busiest times of year. This can really help when setting big goals. For example, if you know ahead of time that November is fellowship application season, maybe you don't put a big writing deadline in the same month.

Convinced yet?

Let's talk about how I can help you crush those long-term goals with a free consultation call.

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