Planning Basics (Part I)

Another day of your life just vanished.  What did you do with it?  What do you have to show for it?

If you’ve ever asked yourself questions like this (and I have) you know you’re not always completely satisfied with the answers.  Part of my goal with More! is to do more every day and a big part of that is planning.  I plan to plan, work my plan, and update my plan. You should too, let me tell you why.

Planning your plan.

If you want to get things done you have to commit to the idea of planning.  That means finding time to start your day with your calendar.  If you don’t have a calendar get one.
Right now.  I don’t mean one that you hang on the fridge I mean a digital one.  If you have a smart phone, you have a calendar.  If you have a PC you have a calendar.  I suggest you use the one on your smart phone and link it to Google Calendar.  Get the
important things scheduled on your calendar and stay focused on the priorities in your life.  Brainstorm and get any other items on your list that you need to accomplish.  Often times I contact important people and get some input from them.  Events that are time linked go on the calendar.  Items that aren’t time linked can go on a general list or on the calendar if you want to dedicate time to knocking them out.  Finally link up tasks contextually by resources.  If you need to be someplace to get a couple tasks done, group them together.  If you need to make a few follow up phone calls group them together and plan to do it when you can easily make the calls without interruptions.  Now review your day and your week, then get busy.

Work your plan.

You made that list for a reason.  Get to it. Clearly the tasks that are time linked (meetings, appointments, etc) create blocks that your day is built around.
Other tasks grouped contextually by topics, locations, and resources allow you the flexibility to tackle them when you can.  Attacking tasks contextually helps you focus your efforts to get more things done in less time.  Put your effort into aligning the tools you need to accomplish your tasks and then focus on completing what needs to be done to the best of your ability.  Relax, execute, and cross the task off the list.

Update your plan.

Updating is a lot more than just checking the box when you complete a task, it’s capturing the moments that define duties, responsibilities and opportunities.
Effectively capturing moments, defining the associated tasks and getting them into your action process are three VERY important parts of being productive.  I’ll talk about how I do those things tomorrow.

Now let me update my plan.

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