Getting Value From Planning

Some of the biggest challenges people have today is paperwork, bureaucracy and workload issues and so the need for personal organization is essential.

Planning is often seen as a boring activity and yet it is essential to focusing your energy. Once you have created a plan it will almost certainly be out of date within a few days. The value is not necessarily in the plan itself but in the thinking that goes into creating it.

By forcing you to think, it is helping to you identify the key steps you need to take and what to anticipate when things don’t go to plan.

Balancing thought and action

There are two types of people, the thinkers and the doers. The thinkers spend too much time thinking about what they need to do rather than doing it and may find themselves saying things like “I should, I must and I ought to”. Then there are those who spend too much time doing and wonder if they are doing the right things and probably feel a bit like headless chickens, running around wondering if they are doing the right things.

If you spend too much time thinking, try adding the word therefore to your thoughts e.g. this training costs too much, therefore, I will negotiate. The word therefore is forcing you into a more action orientation mode.

And if you spend too much time doing, try adding the word why before doing something e.g. I will telephone all the parents, why, to keep them informed, or is it a waste of time. The word why forces you to think and question what you are doing.

Fire-fighting

Fire-fighting can be addictive because it gives you an adrenaline rush and sense of urgency which can lead to you achieving more than you anticipated. But it can also be stressful and you will not be a good role model for others to follow because it doesn’t inspire confidence.

We find ourselves fire-fighting when we fail to act on warnings or maybe procrastinate over something until it’s too late and then becomes urgent.

The way to avoid this is to trust your intuition and if something doesn’t feel right to check it out. Intuition is a powerful tool we all have and yet somehow easily ignored. Another way is to set more than one deadline, i.e. instead of just the end one, sit down and plan out what’s involved in the task you need to accomplish and break it into small chunks that can be slotted into a busy schedule.

Estimating

Although time is measured in seconds, minutes, hours and days not all of it feels the same length. You often hear people describing time as dragging, standing still or simply flying by.

Underestimating time can cause stress especially when you find yourself rushing to get to a meeting on time, or complete a report or running short of time to read and prepare for an event. When you are planning in things to do, build in some slack time, start with 30% until you find a happy medium for yourself.

Over-estimating creates apathy and it’s how potential is lost. You often see the best in a person when they are under pressure and they are able to show the skills people don’t realize they have. In this case I recommend taking more risks and pushing yourself harder by giving yourself little tests each day.

If you can get into the habit of planning every couple of weeks you will find it will make you much more efficient and take the stress out of your life.

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