You can use time to plan a day or a week. Maybe you can use time to plan a month, but probably not. You definitely can’t use time to plan a year – or your whole life.
Too many things change, there are too many variables. You can pretty confidently plan out a schedule for tomorrow, but you can’t schedule out the next five years of your life. “Five-Year Plans” are a joke. The problem is that people do them anyway, and then they don’t survive contact with the enemy, and people fall back on nothing at all.
Here’s your tip: stop planning using time. Start planning using conditions.
Don’t say, “I’ll stay in this job for three years, then I’ll transition to this other role where I’ll spend 4 years gaining XYZ skills, and then…” because it just won’t happen.
Instead, say, “I’ll stay in this role until I’ve met A, B, and C criteria. Once those are satisfied, however long that takes, I’ll move into a different role based on the next thing I want to accomplish. Then I’ll stay there until I find this specific kind of opportunity,” etc.
Conditions. Timelines may change, but that’s okay. If you know what you want you can be moving towards it – faster or slower. Think of it like this: if someone tells you which series of busses to take but never actually tells you where you’re going, what do you do if you miss a bus? You have no idea how to adapt. But if you know your destination, it’s easy to say “my first step is to get to downtown Main Street, and once I’m there I take whichever the next bus is that’s headed east.”
“If, then” is greater than “when.”