Introduction to Time Horizons

If you want to get a lot accomplished, you have to know how time works.

And time can definitely be on your side! But it’s helpful to understand how time horizons work, especially for long and short-term goal-setting, developing proper energy-level allocation, and helping you take action.

Time horizons, also known as planning horizons, are fixed points of time in the future where projects begin, end, or link back to larger goals, milestones, and benchmarks you may have. Many people make their plans using specific time frames such as on a quarterly basis, or month by month.

In Momentum, we’ve made it super easy for you to navigate through the app’s different time horizons (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly).  It’s all in the nav bar at the top.

Use the arrows that look like this < ⌄ > at the top of the nav bar, to switch from year to quarter, month to week, and more. 📆

Time Horizons vs. Time Warps

You don't have to necessarily use all time horizons at all times. (Remember, you can just use the Weekly planner starting out, if that makes most sense to you.)

Most of our planning woes arise because we’re thinking at the wrong level of detail and perspective. When all levels are together in one list of doom, TBH it breaks our brains a little. 🧠🛠️

And it’s hard to know where to start.

Some tasks or To-Dos are items we can quickly take action on. But we don’t know why we’re doing it in the first place.

Other times we have the opposite problem: big objectives and goals with no clear action steps.

Momentum helps you develop more strategic planning habits, and solves the decision making problem of bridging your ‘To-Dos’, big and small. It helps you think across time horizons.

Learning to Shift Perspectives

The easiest way to start planning across the space between a day, month, and year, is by grouping projects and tasks. 👨‍👨‍👦‍👦

If you spend a second thinking about it — you probably can see what a year-sized, quarter-sized, month-sized, and week-sized project would be.

Keep in mind that your projects, or parts of your projects, might overlap or fit into multiple time horizons. Long-term planning typically falls into year-sized projects, like planning a wedding. This could definitely contain some parts that might be quarterly projects (such as shopping around for vendors).

Quarterly projects may contain month-sized tasks, like dress fittings, and so on. 🤓

Here’s a chart that shows how a big yearly goal could look when broken down into smaller parts:

At the lowest time horizon – once you’ve made it through yearly goals, down to quarterly and monthly and weekly projects — you have tasks.

Tasks live at the Daily planning level, and are what actually require action; they’re the one-action activities (i.e., calling a friend, sending a quick email).

Completed tasks come together to finish projects.

Go Up for Context, Down for Clarity

The year and quarter (or even the five year plan for some of us) are where your “why” lives.

Why are you doing this? Why are you on this road? What is it you want to accomplish?

Eventually you need to get more specific than “why” though. The next thing you need is a “what”. That’s what projects are.

And finally you’ve got your Daily planner, where your tasks live. This is the “how”, or how you’ll accomplish the what… in order to arrive at your biggest goals.

Some things to keep in mind: At the higher levels of planning (Yearly, Quarterly, and sometimes Monthly) you don’t need to get caught up in the total specifics of your plans. Leave those pieces to the Weekly and Daily planners.

For example, if you’re setting a yearly goal, don’t worry yet about every detail/ task needed to achieve it. You can also use our Benchmarks and Milestones feature to help you stay on track.

You’ll figure the details out when you shift down to the Monthly, Weekly and Daily time horizons (while keeping your big goals in mind).

Shifting Between Time Horizons

“Shift up for context or purpose, shift down for clarity on next steps.” Let that sink in, and you’ll get a better sense of our approach to time horizons.

No matter which planner (Daily, Weekly, or Monthly, etc.) you prefer, Momentum encourages you to consider higher and lower time horizons (not just the main one you’re looking at).

That’s how you know your why, and your how, making your planning process more effective.

You’ll be prompted to take a look at your Monthly goals, when filling in the Weekly Planner. Every month, your Monthly Planner prompts you to check out the Quarterly level, so you can reassess.

Momentum Planning is about continuously making (and adjusting) plans across all time perspectives. 🔮

Each shift in timescale is a shift in perspective.

Momentum was created for folks who love to complete tasks but are not first off so great at higher-level planning.

It can help you focus on the future you want to build, using the right amount of time you need.

Likewise, if you have plenty of dreams and goals, but a hard time breaking them down into reality, using the app can help you make your ideas real.

The million dollar takeaway is: if you don’t line up the smallest level actions/ tasks with goals, you may get stuff done within a certain length of time, but not the stuff needed to achieve your short-term, mid-term, and long-term dreams.

Momentum Team

We're the team behind Momentum. And we're here to help get your most important projects from start to done.