Archives for category: Planning

Ever since becoming engrossed with Tony Robbin’s Personal Power program in the early 1990’s, one of my primary life-long passions has surrounded taking charge of how my time is spent.

By focusing, and executing, on the most urgent, critical and important activities in our life, we can deliver the necessary results to propel our lives toward optimal success.

Some of my earlier blogs such as the 6 P’s about proper prior planning and High Leverage Activities reinforced the importance of taking charge of your life on this earth.

What I have found during my professional business and coaching careers is that we are responsible for our own demise when it comes to “time & life management.” The predominant culprit appears to be the dis-ease of Over-Commitment!

For a myriad of reasons, human beings seem to be unable to say “NO” when we should.

In teaching “time-management” over the past few decades, I’ve encouraged attendees to plan or commit to no more than 50% of their/your available time. Surprises, unexpected interruptions, unplanned activities, etc. will quickly absorb the remaining 50% that you thought you had available to be used at your discretion!

By Under-Committing, you have a fighting chance of actually staying in control of your precious personal time…and how it will be spent.

Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame stated that “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life.  But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.”

Here’s your challenge: will you CHOOSE to…under-commit, over-deliver, eliminate chaos, and gain control???

overcommit

bankrupt

I firmly believe that one key differentiator between successful versus struggling businesses is the ability to effectively execute their plans.

Sounds logical enough, right?  Nonetheless, I am dumbfounded by how a business team can typically plan and prioritize the most critical action items necessary for success, and yet when it comes to implementing & executing the required important activities, there often seems to be some excuse as to why they weren’t able to effectively follow-through and complete those actions!

As noted in a previous blog on Execution Excellence, the ability to do what you say you are going to do tends to separate great visionary leaders from the “wannabes”.

Winston Churchill stated that He who fails to plan is planning to fail”.

Margaret Thatcher advised us to “Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan”. 

My philosophy is a bit more assertive…“Not executing your business plan may lead to an unplanned “execution” of your business”.

Close Doors Coehlo

Personality assessments indicate that I am a driven and targeted individual, the type of person who tends to be more “task” oriented than “people” focused.

Folks like me tend to maintain a detailed task list…some form of grass catcher document that is potentially used to control our personal and professional life.  However, a challenge arises when our overachiever mindset creates a manuscript that neither Superman nor  Tony Robbins could get accomplished!

The essential component in making this tool an effective resource is to thoroughly review, and consequently prioritize, the activities that we are focused on accomplishing.  The process I’ve used for decades is the A,B,C,1,2,3 ranking method promoted by the likes of Day Timer and Steven Covey.

This philosophy prescribes that we must focus on the most urgent, important actions that will deliver the maximum benefit to ourselves, our business, our world.

The key is to discern between what’s truly important versus the trivial, and then have the self-discipline to concentrate one’s energy on those activities that will get you somewhere.

 

 

While working with my business clients, it has become evident that there is pain and frustration resulting from apparently not having enough time for getting the most important business-related activities completed.

Certainly, daily operational requirements coupled with the speed of technology can create an environment wherein we may fall into the “reactive” versus “proactive” mode.  Thus, we tend to allow that proverbial “whirlwind” of activity to take control of our how our time gets spent..

Consequently, excuses begin to enter into the picture, as we justify our lack of execution as being the bi-product of too many tasks to be completed coupled with too many interruptions.

As emphasized in my blog on the 6 P’s  (Proper Prior Planning Produces Professional Performance), it is imperative that YOU CHOOSE to control the what, when, where, and why of how you spend YOUR valuable time & energy.

Do what matters!  Resolve to perform the most important high-leverage activities that will deliver the maximum return on your effort.

Take Action

One of my favorite coaching areas is that of Attention Management (the artist formerly known as Time Management).

Time cannot truly be managed…there are 86,400 seconds in a day and once gone, you cannot recover them.  On the other hand, how you spend that time, your attention and focus,  can be proactively controlled given that proper personal disciplines and barriers have been established.

All to often, people spend their days hitting the ground running, operating in reactionary mode and being at the mercy of the world and people around them; instead of controlling their activities.

A surefire way to improve your effectiveness is to dedicate time to a daily action plan, either the night or early morning before your committed day starts.

Adding a quiet time or meditation period is a useful tool in this process.

Once you’ve created this daily strategy, draw upon your personal power to make every effort to stick to that plan, no matter what.  Sounds easy, does hard!

Further, ensure you include some time slots for handling the unscheduled interruptions that will come, regardless of the boundaries you’ve established!

Give it a try next week, and I’ll bet you’ll see an astonishing increase in productivity…not to mention that you’ll have less stress and feel better!!!

Plan your work

Action = Priorities

Your genuine priorities are exhibited by what you focus on and how you actually “spend” your valuable time.

Those actions and decisions have, thus far, lead you to where you are (or aren’t) today.

For passions that are truly a personal priority for you, you can find a way to make them become a reality (and given the dynamic nature of our lives, that vision can, and will, frequently change).

Your ultimate desires will be the ones that command your attention and awareness.  These are the activities in your life that matter the most to you.  This is where you MUST invest your time, interest and energy.

A sound prioritization process should provide you with the ability to determine what actions will bring both joy and fulfillment into your life, and into the lives of others!

One of my favorite coaching areas is that of Attention Management (the artist formerly known as Time Management).

Time cannot truly be managed…there are 86,400 seconds in a day and once gone, you cannot recover them.  On the other hand, how you spend that time, your attention and focus,  can be proactively controlled given that proper personal disciplines and barriers have been established.

All to often, people spend their days hitting the ground running, operating in reactionary mode and being at the mercy of the world and people around them; instead of controlling their activities.

A surefire way to improve your effectiveness is to dedicate time to a daily action plan, either the night or early morning before your committed day starts.

Adding a quiet time or meditation period is a useful tool in this process.

Once you’ve created this daily strategy, draw upon your personal power to make every effort to stick to that plan, no matter what.  Sounds easy, does hard!

Further, ensure you include some time slots for handling the unscheduled interruptions that will come, regardless of the boundaries you’ve established!

Give it a try next week, and I’ll be you’ll see an astonishing increase in productivity…not to mention that you’ll have less stress and feel better!!!

Plan your work

 

As each year ends, my wife and I go through an exercise wherein we review our journals from the prior year, reflect on what we have, and in some cases have not, accomplished.

The end goal is to establish what our “top-ten highlight reel” might look like for the year gone by…we are typically amazed by all that has been achieved.

A post-exercise routine of comparing our respective “top-tens” is not only fun, but also provides a barometer for how well our values and beliefs are aligned, i.e. what’s truly important to each of us. It further reinforces the many blessings we have in our lives and the people and events that are shaping our destiny.

Further, this practice helps to create positive feelings and an inner-state that tends to energize a constructive planning effort for what we would like to realize during the upcoming year.

If nothing else, take time to reflect on your core values and guiding principles; and reignite your internal flame by establishing some meaningful, challenging and achievable goals to shoot for entering this new year.

New Year

 

I’ve frequently observed a misunderstanding amongst leaders in differentiating between what actions are strategic versus tactical.

Although the distinction is seemingly simple, this confusion warrants clarification.

An organization, or individual for that matter, is striving to accomplish a mission comprised of various goals.  The process for accomplishing this is referred to as strategic planning…the creation of a written project plan that determines where we are right now, where we want to go, and how we will get there?

Strategic planning integrates multiple resources in order to establish the roadmap for how to successfully achieve the desired outcome(s).

Strategy development is the higher-level thought process that includes planning, creating operational changes and defining pertinent goals required to realize the objective.

Tactics, on the other hand, are the multiple, specific actions necessary to achieve each of those respective identified goals.

The graphic below provides a clarifying visualization on this topic.

strategy

 

It is human nature for people and employees to be uncomfortable with change.  We often become content with the way things are, don’t want to “rock the boat” or disrupt the status quo.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, if organizations not only want to compete but ultimately WIN, change is virtually mandatory.

Having gone through numerous corporate transition periods, whether it be rapid growth, adjusting to radical technology introductions, downsizing, or mergers & acquisitions, the most common mistake that stands in the way of “buy-in” from team members seems to be poor communication.

As lives become disrupted and the future becomes uncertain, fear sets in.  Members of the organization are not typically willing to accept change quickly and enthusiastically!

What becomes critical is proactive communication.  Leaders must provide a clear understanding of why the change needs to occur, an exciting vision about what it means for the future, and an honest explanation of how it impacts EVERYONE in the company.

Perhaps most important for the “change-agents” is to be positive and motivational if they expect the transition period to succeed.  Of course, those traits can be used on a daily basis as well!

therefore change is good