Planning Time Planning

Yes, I meant to title this post “Planning Time Planning.” For many, planning their time is a task that “sort of happens” throughout the day. As things come up, they get added to the calendar. That is called “scheduling.” Creating time in your daily routine to plan your time is something different.

Make Time to Plan Time

A common complaint from salespeople who do not practice effective time-management is that they do not have time to plan their time. You often hear, “How can I take that time out of my busy day to plan, when I never have a spare moment?”

I’m here to tell you if you don’t make time for planning and self-improvement, you might as well plan to earn the same income you earn today for the rest of your life. Is that what you really want?  I don’t think so.

It is a proven fact that by taking the time to plan, you will save 20-30 times the time expended in the planning process. Let me illustrate what I mean. A study was done on how managers planned their time. They found that managers who invested only 5 minutes planning a specif­ic task, would spend 55 minutes to complete it. Those managers who invested 15 minutes on the planning process, spent only 30 minutes completing it. Look at the time saved! I would say that the time invested planning was well worth it, wouldn’t you? When you make a committed effort to allow time for planning each day, the week, the month, and the year, you will achieve much more than if you just plan one day at a time… and you’ll live a more rewarding life.

When you begin each month reviewing your commitments to loved ones, those commitments will be top of mind when there are options for when to conduct business. When you have your personal, family, and career goals mapped out for 20 years, 10 years, 5 years, and this year, it’s much easier to decide how to invest your time this month, this week, and tomorrow.

 

Types of Activities to Consider

I like to keep things simple. I like charts and graphs and lists. They make my life so much easier to manage. When planning, I break my activities down into categories as follows:

Immediate Activities – These are only those things that MUST be completed today–by you. When you prioritize what’s really important, it’s easier to stay focused. How do you know which things are immediate activities, and which ones can be put aside? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. If I could achieve only two or three of these activities today, which ones would they be?
  2. Which activities will yield the highest pay-off or reward?
  3. Which of these activities would complicate my tomorrow if they were not achieved today?
  4. Which of  these  activities could be delegated to someone else, thereby, leaving me more time to generate more business or enhance my personal relationships?
  5. Which activities, if postponed, would damage my relationship with loved ones, clients, or business associates?

Have your immediate activities in front of you at all times. If you can’t see what needs to be accomplished today because you have buried yourself under other less important work, it could get lost in the shuffle, and so could your business.

Secondary Activities – It is usually a little easier to determine this group of activities. They are important and will bring a sense of accomplishment. They are likely to become immediate activities in the near future, but aren’t today. If, after completing your immediate tasks, you have extra time, it’s wise to give these activities some attention (aka getting a jump on tomorrow). It’s important that you place information for these secondary items in their designated locations. By that I mean not on the top of your desk where they can distract you. Don’t allow yourself to become preoccupied with piles of paperwork. This will only cause you stress and confuse you as to what needs immediate attention.

Relatively Unimportant Activities – You will be surprised how hard this list of activities is to determine at first. We tend to think everything needs our attention, or it wouldn’t come our way. This is simply not true. There are many unimportant activities that others pass to you or ones that will have a way of working themselves out if given a little time. By putting them in your relatively unimportant category, you may never have to spend time on these things when you should be investing time on your immediate activities. Or, they may be something you can accomplish during a break in the action of your Immediate or Secondary activities.

When we don’t plan time planning, we allow the daily demands of our lives to take over and run us. That’s not the way things are supposed to be.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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