Category: planning



ProjectSuccess-Resize2If you’ve been around for a while you’ve probably heard me say that people cringe when it comes to creating a plan and that some even say it’s a waste of time. Don’t believe the hype! Planning saves you plenty of your precious time and can help keep you from hitting road blocks.

Let’s talk about that plan you’ve created. It might have been hard for you to even do that if you’re one of those people who cringe when they hear the word “plan”, so congrats for getting that done! Your plan might be related to a particular goal, a project or maybe it’s something for a client. Once you’ve got it, you might not know exactly how to proceed. The key is one bite at a time. You take that large meal, so to speak, and break it down into bite sized pieces. In your plan you would have outlined the milestones for each goal or project, and if you didn’t you’ve got to take a step back and do that.

Looking at one milestone, figure out the smaller steps or tasks; the things that need to happen to reach that milestone and add them to your calendar. Putting things on your to-do list is okay if they will take less than 15 minutes, but if they take longer and you don’t have them in your calendar with a set block of time to complete them, you’re asking for trouble. At the beginning of each week, or at the end of the week for the upcoming week, go through this process. It doesn’t take long at all. As you place things on your to-do list and into your calendar, just like eating a meal, you don’t want to bite off more that you can chew. Don’t overload your plate. The other things that have to be done can stay in the fridge until you’re ready for them. Stick to your priorities as you plan. You should have assigned a level of priority to each goal or project when you created it. That allows you to automatically know which related tasks have priority when it comes to scheduling them.

This process, if you’ve created your plan properly, works really well because at this point, your priorities have been determined. Which allows you to focus on them regularly. That’s what gets you where you want to go. This process leaves no room for guessing, because it’s been removed from the equation altogether. You’ve planned your work, now it’s time to work your plan.

 


Planning On Glass BoardWith just a few weeks lift in the year, the air is buzzing with end of the year activities. Sadly, though most people don’t think about the year ahead. If you haven’t already laid out your plan for next year, you’re way behind and it’s time to catch up. I know that some people cringe when they hear the word “plan” or at the thought of having to create one.  I’ve heard so many people say that planning takes too much time or even that it’s a waste of time.  The truth is that planning will actually save you time, guide your actions and help you accomplish what you set out to do.  There is power in the process.

When you don’t plan, the time that you give to execution will take much longer and decrease your productivity level.  Without going through the planning process, unexpected things happen that you didn’t think about and they derail your efforts.  You spend time dealing with the unexpected, looking for solutions to put the fire out and get things going again while work is stagnated.

It only takes about 10-12 minutes to plan your day.  That small investment will save you about two hours every day, which translates to about a 25 percent increase in your level of productivity.  Regular planning has you spend more time on activities of higher value, which in turn increases your effectiveness and your efficiency. Planning will facilitate achievement of your goals, and helps you to make good decisions, define opportunities and possible threats and can even help reduce risk and prevent loss.  Inside of the process you are able to see the resources that you need, map your route and determine how you will deal with any bumps in the road, should you hit them.  All of this becomes possible simply because you make the investment of your time and energy to create the plan.

Statistics show us that every minute that you plan saves you ten in the execution of the plan.  That translates into the time that you make to plan giving you a return of ten times, which is 1,000 percent on the investment of your time and personal energy.  That is huge!  Where else can you make an investment and get this kind of return?

Without planning you don’t know exactly what you’re working on from day to day, every week and over longer periods of time so you play the guessing game on a regular basis or you get in the middle of doing a particular thing and notice that there’s something that you forgot to do—something that should have been done before you started working on your current task.  You also get to points in your process when you realize you don’t have something that you need. Not a good scenario when you’re trying to make things happen and complete the projects on your agenda or reach your goals. You want to know what that next step is. If you don’t it will cost you.

With a plan you’ve done the work that has you already halfway there. Your plan is your map that gives you what you need to move forward and a great chance of success. So, the next time you hear the word “plan”, don’t cringe, embrace the power that the process gives you.  Get prepared for 2015. Plan your work, and work your plan!

 


Habit 2-Begin With The End in MindThis is habit number two from Covey’s list of seven and something that definitely supports productivity. It works when you set long-term goals, and use visualization as a tool to develop it. Before you start anything, you have to have a clear picture of what it is you want and that means looking at the end result and working your way backward to the starting point to know what to do to get you there. When you work in this manner and mentally create what you want, it helps you to focus on relevant things.

I have seen the difference that this makes time and time again. I’ll share one example with you. A few years ago a colleague said that she needed my help to pull things together. She was all over the place, working on a number of different things, but had no idea of where she was going with some of them. I took her through a visualization session so that she could get clear on where she was going with her clients. We went into the detail about the purpose of the programs she wanted to create and the results she wanted from each of them. I also had her stop working on her first annual retreat to get clear about the end results. That session made all the difference.

Beginning with the end in mind had her look at exactly where she was going with the programs and events in her business. The outcomes allowed her to see where the gaps where in what she was contemplating as well as the things she had already been working on without making time to envision it all first. Looking at the end result helped her create her long term goals for each endeavor and map out the plan to get there. Stopping to look forward enabled her days to be more focused and kept her from her usual days of being all over the place and not knowing where she was going.


Monday Easy ButtonA lot of people look forward to the end of the work week. For some Friday means spending the weekend with loved ones and more fun. For others, it means the end to the weekly grind. If you really are doing what you love, but find yourself looking forward to Friday because it means the end of the grind, you’re probably wasting a good deal of time on Friday afternoon. Instead of counting down the hours as Friday afternoon drags along, use it to set yourself up for a productive Monday.

One thing that you can do to set the stage for a productive Monday is to look at your schedule for the coming week. Look at what’s already on your calendar for the week ahead and add anything that’s missing. Make sure that you’ve included all of your meetings and set reminders for them. Place anything that you need for the meeting in one place so that they’re ready to go. That includes driving directions if you need them.

Be sure that your project deadlines for the week are in your calendar as well as your to-do items with time blocked out to work on them. Doing so will clear your mind of the feeling that you’ve forgotten something and allows you to not only have the great weekend you’ve been looking forward to, but it makes for a efficient Friday and sets you up to start your week on a productive note.

 


Football2The end of March is upon us and it’s also the end of the first quarter. Time is flying by so quickly it can literally make your head spin. At this point with three months of the year gone, it’s time to see where you are. Are you in possession of the ball?

In football, specific rules govern what happens at the end of each quarter of the game. The rules affect team position, possessions, timing and breaks. You can say that the same happens in life. At the beginning of the year you had the opportunity for a fresh start. If you accepted the opportunity to create new things in your life and set your business goals, you might have created a plan or attempted to move things forward in some way. Maybe you had the ball and lost possession of it somewhere along the way to this point and you don’t know how, or maybe you never even had the ball to begin with.

Either way, the end of the first quarter is the time to take a short break, just like the two minute break at the end of the first quarter of a football game. Use this short time to assess where you are. What things had you planned to complete by this point in time and are they done? Are you in possession of the ball or did you fumble somewhere along the way? If you dropped the ball or didn’t even pick it up to begin with, it’s okay. The question for you now is what are you going to do? Are you going to pick up the ball and play the rest of the game and give it everything you’ve got to get that win, or are you going to continue as you are now?

If you’re going to pick up the ball and run with it you’ve got to know which way you’re going and why. Map out your plan or your plays for the rest of the game, making sure you know what kind of resources and support you’ll need along the way. Think about the things that might tackle you along your way down the field to the end zone and determine how you’re going to deal with them if they come up. Set deadlines and action dates according to those deadlines and get someone to hold you accountable. Get the deadline and action dates into your calendar, put your helmet back on and get back in the game!

 

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