6 steps to effective planning
For long-term goals, a multi-annual plan is needed, for short-term - quarterly, and for the current - monthly, weekly, daily. What is really important when planning? Here are the six most important steps to effective planning.
Time management specialists advise that, when planning current issues, do it in the perspective of the week, because the week gives a wider context to our activities. And what to manage by organizing tasks?
Thanks to the time table you will discover that you do not have to do everything! Then you will know the joy of enjoying your free time. Our personal and professional successes depend to a large extent on how we organize our time. We choose the way we spend it ourselves, and we bear the consequences of these decisions. In order to manage ourselves well in time, let us follow the maxim of Stephen R. Covey: "Instead of focusing on the right thing to do, you need to focus on doing the right things." Our decisions regarding the use of time are influenced by two criteria - urgency and validity. We often assign an importance level to too many tasks. But proper setting of priorities consists in realizing what is the highest in our hierarchy of values, and not only in responding to urgent matters. How to distinguish them from each other? Urgency is a time-related criterion, it is important - with our goals. A practical tool that shows the scope of activities and makes it easier to determine what is really importanttime table . The most important condition for effective action and planning is focusing on quarter II and simultaneously eliminating many activities from I and III and ignoring quadrants IV.
Time table: quarter I.
There are both important and urgent matters in it. It is "crisis management" - activities of important strategic importance and urgent matters. In this quadrant we work, use our knowledge to respond to many situations and take up challenges. We can not neglect these matters.
Table of time: quarter II
It covers important but non-urgent matters. This is a quarter of "high quality" in which we manage ourselves: we set long-range plans, anticipate problems and ways to prevent them, develop abilities, regenerate ourselves, spend time with relatives. The more time we spend in this quadrant, the more our ability to act increases. Neglecting the activities in it widens the quadrant I, which eventually absorbs us, causes stress and burns out.
Time table: quarter III
There are urgent matters in it, but it does not matter. It's a quarter of delusion, because the noise around what's urgent can create an illusion of importance. In this quadrant we perform current activities, but important for someone else, we implement other people's expectations, thinking that we are in quadrant I.
Table of time: quarter IV
These are irrelevant and irrelevant matters. By minimizing the time spent in this quadrant, we will gain time for really important things.
1. Effective planning: think about the vision and mission
By starting to plan the classes, think about what is most important in your life. Think about your vision, about what you would like to do, about the principles you follow (compass!). Although it seems quite distant, it is extremely important, because your beliefs affect the goals you set, the decisions you make, and the way you spend your time.
The reflection on one's own mission is an essential condition for acting according to what is important, because it exerts a strong influence on the implementation of the rest of the activities assigned to the quarter II. If your life credo is personal development, being with your family, discovering the value of life or social activity, then returning to it from time to time, you will make the most important things come to your mind. The mission will create a framework within which you will make decisions in the next stages of planning.
2. Effective planning: define your roles
Roles are symbols of duties, relations with people, activities for the benefit of society. Their clear definition creates a natural structure that allows us to keep our balance. The roles you play flow from your mission. Write down your roles on the piece (eg wife, mother, student, manager, director, member of a sports club). The research shows that occurrence in more than seven is ineffective, so try, for example, to combine certain functions. Defining life roles helps to see life as a whole - you see that it is not just a job or a family, but all of these spheres together. When describing your roles, you will notice "important but not inconvenient" (quarter II) cases that are usually ignored. In addition to the roles for the weekly distribution, add "sharpening the saw". It's energy, what should we put into improving our skills in the four fundamental dimensions of life - "physical, social, intellectual and spiritual. Absorbed by "sawing" (obtaining results), we forget to "sharpen the saw" (retain or develop the ability to achieve results in the future). If, for example, we do not practice sport (the "physical" sphere), we do not develop knowledge (social sphere), we do not follow the latest achievements in our industry (intellectual sphere) or we do not know what is important in our life (spiritual sphere), we can "blunt "through imbalance.
3. Effective planning: choose goals for each role
Think about what the most important thing you can do this week as part of each role to achieve positive results. What is essential, eg in the role of a wife, husband, parent, employee? When looking for actions, use a compass, not a watch, and concentrate on what is important, not urgent. This can be, for example, a date with her husband, more time for a child, information about a course of speed reading, meditation. Set one or two goals for each role.
4. Effective planning: learn to make decisions
To translate quarters II goals into an action plan, you must learn to make the right decisions throughout the week. We often try to make time for "important" activities in quarters I and III, which are already full of activities. We throw ourselves from one case to another, entrust it to someone else, postpone it for later, hoping that we will find time for the most important things. But - as Stephen R. Covey writes - "[...] is not about prioritizing plans, but about planning priorities." Imagine a wide jar, into which you put large stones. Although the jar is filled with stones, it is not full, you can add gravel to the gaps. But really the jar is still not full - you can pour in the sand and finally pour more water. Our goals in quadrant II are "large stones". If we first deal with other matters - water, sand and gravel, and then we want to fit large stones in the plan, our attempts will prove futile. But if we know what matters are big stones, and we will deal with them before everyone else, we will see how much we can achieve and how much water, sand and gravel is in vacant places. We will achieve what we consider important and, at the same time, we will "adjust" other activities accordingly.
5. Effective planning: organize every day
Your daily tasks consist in making the most important things first, despite the unexpected circumstances and challenges that a day brings. Sometimes you will be able to implement the plan, other times you will have to change it, but at the moment of making decisions, be sure to indicate your inner compass. To put the most important things first, in the morning:
IMAGINE THE RUNNING OF THE DAY - review the weekly schedule, set your location, look at this day in the context of 7 days. This will help you react adequately to unexpected situations.
PURPOSE PRIORITIES - mark your actions with the symbols of quarters I and II - thanks to this you can be sure that things from quarters III do not enter your schedule. If further prioritization is necessary, the operations of quarters I and II should be marked in more detail (eg a circle).
DETERMINE PERIOD AND TIME OF TASKS - those whose execution is strictly defined in time, separate from those that can be carried out at any time of the day. Also save time limits for specific activities.
6. Effective planning: assess your effectiveness
At the end of the week, think about what goals you have achieved, what challenges to face, what decisions to make, or making choices, the most important things came first. Summary of the week helps you to avoid repeating the same mistakes, it allows you to be more effective in the coming weeks.