By: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

The old adage reminds us that “People don’t plan to fail
but a lot of people do fail to plan.” During a war, we find a tank operator and
a general. Which function is more important? It is probably the general, at
least in this sense. One can be the best tank operator on the line, get out
there everyday and shoot off more rounds of ammunition and shoot them more
accurately than anyone else on the line, but if he is not shooting at a target
that makes any sense, then his whole day is wasted. The general, through
advanced planning, decides where the tank operator ought to go and thereby
increases his “productivity”.

A lot of people run their days like a tank operator
without a general. Awake in the morning, get dressed, off to work, grab the
first fire hose someone throws their way, get caught up addressing the demands
coming from the loudest voices shouting in their direction, come home at night,
sometimes beat and exhausted, get rested, get up the next morning and repeat
the cycle. That is living life by accident. I encourage people to live their
lives on purpose.

I want each of us to be a general. And there’s a war out
there in that either you are in control of your time or someone else is. And
the best way for us to be a general and in control of our own time is doing
effective Daily Planning every day.

Here’s five simple Planning Principles to help maximize
your Daily Planning

  1. Do your planning the night before. I try to set aside time each night for Daily
    Planning. I’ve wound down from the workday and I am less pressured. The major
    benefit, however, it that by having a plan of action completed the night
    before, we go to bed with a sense of certainty and control about our next day
    and with a sense of anticipation we would not ordinarily have. After getting
    into the habit of accomplishing our Daily Planning each night, the quality of
    our sleep will be enhanced because we have established a plan each night that
    gives us the roadmap or game plan for the next day eliminating the need to
    wrestle with all the loose ends in our heads during our sleeping hours,
    interfering with the quality of our sleep.
  • Put the plan into writing. There is extraordinary power in the pen. Putting
    our plan into writing helps us to increase our feelings of control and, indeed,
    the reality of control. When we try to keep track of everything in our heads,
    things tend to slip through the cracks.
  • “Have to’s” and “Want to’s”. Good planning involves more than just properly
    administering our “Have To’s”. Sure we ought to better handle our “Have To’s”,
    but we also need to do a good job taking care of our “Want To’s”. Plan out not
    only the things you “have to” do, but, more importantly, the things you “want
    to” do.
  • Over plan your day. “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” The
    more you plan to do, the more you can get done because you take advantage of
    Parkinson’s Law which says, in part, that a project tends to expand with the
    time allocated for it. If you have one thing to do for the day, it will take
    all day. If you have three things to do for the day, you’ll get all three done.
    If you have twelve things to get done for the day, you might not get all twelve
    done, but probably will get nine completed. See, having a lot to do creates a
    healthy sense of pressure on us and we almost automatically become better time
  • Prioritize your list. Our list will almost always include “crucial” as
    well as “not crucial” items. Some items are more important, others less so.
    Without some direction, we tend to gravitate towards the “not crucial” items
    because they are typically easier to do, take less time, and may even be more
    fun than many of our “crucial” items. A simple numerical listing will suffice.
    Put a “1” next the most important item on your list, the one item you would
    want done if you could only accomplish one item. Then place a “2” next to the
    second most important item, continuing the process until all the items on your
    list are prioritized in order of their importance.

Get your copy of “Top Five Time Management Mistakes”. To get yours, email your request for “mistakes” to:

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore
Certified Contactor Business Coach
Productivity Institute
Time Management Seminars
127 Jefferson St.
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 386-8062 (800) 969-3773
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