Not enough time? Effective planning needs only to take five minutes each day. This very small portion of the day takes us out of the re-active (uncontrolled, frustrated) mode and into the pre-active (controlled and sequenced) mode.
Lose our spontaneity? The biggest mistake people make in planning and scheduling is to allocate every minute of the day. This approach is guaranteed to fail. Interruptions are a part of every life — so leave room for interruptions; but remember, life is much too complex to “wing it” all the time.
When a ship misses the harbor it is rarely the fault of the harbor.
Tips on Planning
1) Make a daily plan compatible with long range goals and dreams
2) Set priorities and follow them
3) Use the swiss cheese approach for large, time consuming projects
4) Use an organizer (Outlook, cell phone, steno-pad, “To Do” lists, etc.)
5) Build a flixible schedule — don’t schedule every minute
The Swiss Cheese Approach
The Swiss Cheese approach is a great way to accomplish larger goals. Larger projects take more energy and time, so often people procrastinate, delay, or avoid taking action because the project/goal seems…
Uninteresting and/or boring
Large and time consuming
Like it involves making a decision and we don’t want to be wrong
Since you can’t do everything all at once anyway, this approach works putting “holes” in the task…thus the idea of Swiss cheese. To do this, simply turn the task into smaller units or sub units. Ignore the overall project and “think small” — think in units.
Start with a unit, a small bit of the task, and when that unit is complete move methodically to the next unit until the entire task is complete. The idea is that once enough “holes” are completed in the task, the task is done!
A major reason for procrastination and lack of motivation is vagueness, confusion, and fuzzy-mindedness about what you are trying to do and in what order and for what reason. Avoid this common condition by striving for greater clarity in your major goals and tasks.
Ten Suggestions to Manage Procrastination…
1. “Eat that frog.” Your “frog” is the biggest, most important task. Discipline yourself to begin immediately with the biggest, most important task, and then persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.
2. Be happy. Accentuate the positive. Turn the unhappy thoughts around and think about how good you’ll feel when you get done.
3. Just do it. Get started, and don’t wait for motivation. You don’t have to feel like doing something to do it. Once you get busy, you will often “get into it” and the task will be underway.
4. Reward yourself. Start by giving yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself that you are a good and capable person. Reward yourself when you do a good job. Your rewards can be simple and inexpensive, and things that you can give yourself. If you earn a reward, take it.
5. Use the “Swiss cheese approach.” Subdivide your job into small pieces and concentrate on the smaller subtasks or pieces.
6. Set priorities. Arrange your tasks in order of priority and then do all the important things first.
7. Delegate. Find other people to help.
8. Make a commitment. You will have a far greater chance of getting a job done if you commit to yourself and others that you will get it done. Be specific and set a date and time for completion.
9. Regulate your environment. Handle disruptions and interruptions.
10. Visualize completion. See yourself completing your task. Think about the job you have been putting off. Identify the steps needed to complete your task, and then see yourself carrying out those steps. Picture yourself with the end-product in hand.
Getting Organized is a Good Habit
Tips for Getting Organized
1. Use a to do list
2. Use the one touch rule. Handle each e-mail or piece of paper only once by deleting or throwing away things you know you will do nothing about and forward appropriate items immediately
3. Use an “in-basket” for mail, messages, magazines, etc.
4. Delegate all possible tasks
5. Group items that are similar, and schedule them within segments of the day
6. Hold the starts and stops of work to a minimum — organize work so that like activities are done in sequence
Desk Filing System
Most people need a simple and flexible system with the following sections:
Do Now For work you have to do something about today.
Do Soon For work you have to do something about within a couple of days or within the week.
File For work which has been dealt with and only have to be filed by you or someone.
Read For everything you have to read at some stage, but not necessarily right away — magazines, newspapers, meeting reports, etc.
Pass On For items you’d like to pass on to somebody else
Pending For things you cannot do anything about because you do not have the necessary information (awaiting information)
“C” Drawer This is where you place the things you’d like to throw away but you are not quite sure you can/should. Empty the “C” drawer monthly with an appropriate filing system.
De-Clutter Your Life
1. Stuff breeds.
2. The useless stuff crowds out the good stuff.
3. Dust loves stuff.
4. Stuff loves to stay where it lands.
5. Stuff expands to fill the space available.
6. Over time, stuff becomes invisible.
7. Stuff costs you money more than once.
8. Stuff has a powerful effect on your state of mind.
9. Unused stuff is just clutter.
10. Stuff doesn’t make you happy.
Your Desk or Work Area
Know your “prime real estate”
Keep only what you need
Discard excess personal items
Keep equipment in easy reach
The more you use an item the closer it should be to you
Use just 15 minutes
Use it or lose it
Put it away
Give it away
Group like things together
Consolidate and compress
Alphabetize, label, and/or sort
Who am I?
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward to success or drag you down to failure. The choice is yours because I am completely at your command.
Half the things you can be turned over to me; I will do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed; just be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people; and, I am the servant of all failures.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin — it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, and be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I am HABIT!