Planning Addiction

8 Feb

I’ll admit it, I need structure.  (Maybe that is an understatement.)  Embarrassingly enough, I will also admit that I plan time to be spontaneous.  I feel the most comfortable when I know what I’m supposed to be doing next.

I make plans by the day, week, weekend, month and season.  I use multiple tools to record my plans: a note-book, weekly planner, Outlook calendar, and a white board calendar.  I need to see my plans written down before I can act on them.  There is no way that I could plan using my only my memory.  I’d forget half of the things I need to do.  I know the all of the different planning tools are overkill, but I just can’t help it: I’m addicted to planning.

There are two very important components of planning: prioritizing and executing.  I use these two components as I am planning my workload for the day.  My Daily To-Do list is by far my most valuable planning tool.  If you want to try it, follow these 4 easy steps:

1.  Each morning, take 15-20 minutes to write down a list of everything that needs to be completed throughout the day.  The important part is to list everything that comes to mind, regardless of its importance.  The idea is to ensure that nothing is forgotten once you start working on projects.

2.  Prioritize this list based on items that are time sensitive or have a large impact on your customers

3.  Determine when you will be the most productive throughout the day.  I happen to be a morning person so I take care of all of my detail oriented work first thing in the morning.  I save the less thought-provoking tasks for the afternoon “When that 2:30 feeling strikes” (I wish I could make every day a 5 hour energy day).

4.  Pick off tasks one-by-one.  Regardless of personal preference, time sensitive work needs to be completed first.  If everything is time sensitive, prioritize based on impact to your customer.  Use your judgement to determine what needs to be done first.  The goal is to execute everything on your list in priority order.

While these steps seem extremely basic, I can guarantee that there are a lot of people who spend their days at working being more “reactive” than “proactive.”  I prefer to plan ahead and take care of work before someone asks me to do it.

Since I see planning as an “area of strength,” my goal for the month is to learn how to improve this skill.  I’d also like to learn how to use this strength in my personal life.  I’d like to improve my Career Planning and Financial Planning.  I’d also like to focus on the importance of execution.

If you also consider Planning as an area of strength, what is your secret?  I’d love to hear it!!

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2 Responses to “Planning Addiction”

  1. Manage Better Now February 10, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    Don’t start with the easy stuff. Start with the stuff that will have the biggest impact on moving you towards accomplishing your long term goals. What one thing can you do today that will have the biggest impact on you career success? Start with that. The little stuff will work itself out.

    • Christina February 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

      I read your comment yesterday morning and took on your challenge! Friday morning, as I was preparing my workload for the day, I spent time identifying the most high impact projects and decided to work on them first. The biggest challenge for me was the fact that my highest impact project involved a task that was out of my comfort zone. It felt so good to tackle it first and it actually made me feel more confident throughout the day as I was working on my easier projects. Thank you so much for your advice!

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