The Green Sheet Online Edition
April 12, 2010 • Issue 10:04:01
Plan today for results tomorrow
||To be prepared is half the victory.|
- Miguel de Cervantes
To be successful at anything in life, a certain amount of planning must be involved. Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to think through a situation before it arrives. It offers a bird's-eye view of the tasks ahead before you are emotionally or physically involved in carrying them out.
In both personal and business endeavors, planning presents multiple benefits. This simple act not only speeds the work flow, it can also dramatically improve results.
Sow early to reap rewards
Ready to plan? Here is one bit of advice to implement that will alter the course of your career for the better: No matter where you work or what your responsibilities are, plan your next day before you end the current work day.
This demands a commitment. It will be tempting to put off planning, especially if you've had a particularly long or demanding work day. But it will relieve a ton of pressure, especially if you own a business or work from home.
Mapping out the next day before you leave the office will enable you to rest easy at night instead of worrying about what you're going to do when you sit at your desk the next morning. It will also help you start the following day calmly without having to scramble to get organized at the last minute - when people may already be poking their heads into your office for general guidance or answers to specific questions.
It may not seem like a big deal, but it truly is unwise to wait until morning to shape your day. If this is your habit, you are likely perpetually starting your day in "panic mode" and causing your adrenaline to go into overdrive. We have enough stress triggers in our fast-paced society. Why put up with one that you have the control to stop?
When you procrastinate, what could have been a peaceful beginning of a productive day becomes a chaotic flurry of activity as you try to think of all the tasks ahead without leaving out important details.
And what happens when that initial adrenaline rush ends? You suddenly feel tired, stressed and frustrated. Your body reacts, and you fight off the urge to take a nap with caffeine, or maybe your thinking lacks clarity and you lose your ability to be decisive. This can reduce your productivity and, over time, sabotage your career.
Take a step
There's just no way around it: Planning each work day at the close of the preceding day will help relieve tremendous pressure. You'll be able to think clearly about your business goals and keep your work space organized to increase productivity.
Luckily, the planning process is quite simple. The first step is to get pen and paper and write a list of what you want to accomplish the following day. Include the tasks you must perform to realize your goals for the day.
Next, prioritize by writing the more important tasks at the top of a new list. If you are facing an extremely difficult task, write it at the top of your list.
To the degree that on-the-job demands permit it, focusing on the most daunting task first will enable you to dispense with it without delay, so you'll be able to enjoy the rest of the day.
Then you can focus on the remaining goals you'd like to accomplish. Goals should be specific and tailored to your situation.
They could include a monetary target for daily sales, completion of a challenging project, speaking with a certain number of prospects, to name just a few.
Design your future
No matter how small your goals may seem, it's the small goals that lead to accomplishing larger, long-term goals.
For example, most business owners and managers understand the value of daily sales goals, and they use these goals and resulting sales figures to project earnings for the company's future.
If you don't already have one, consider buying a daily planner designed for business. It can be in hard copy or digital form. Either way, it will keep your list of projects and goals in one, easy to access place.
Start implementing this daily planning process today. Then watch your stress levels drop and your productivity rise.
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