“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
We often find ourselves lost amongst our day-to-day workload, a list of tasks longer than The Great Wall of China.
Interviewers regularly ask ‘How do you plan your day’ and we tend to answer with the generic: ‘Lists’, ‘Digital Planners’, ‘Notepads/Diaries’ or ‘Post-it notes’. But do we actually plan or are we just thoughtlessly writing down our tasks in a different format? I get it. I’m guilty of doing this in the past.
You’ll often hear the saying – ‘Planning for an hour will save you 10 hours of doing’. So, what is the importance of planning?
Planning has to happen from above
Planning is often underrated and overlooked by leaders in organisations, leading to a lack of efficiency, missed deadlines and a lack of communication between team members. That’s why, even if you feel like you’re the ‘Planning Queen’ (or King), well thought-out processes need to be implemented in every branch of your company. It’s no longer a personal choice, it’s an essential part of the success of your business.
Don’t work it out as you go along
Without a plan, work seems to fall into the abyss of the ‘I was getting to this later’ blackhole… Whether you’re a leader in your company, or you’re a valued team member, think about holding a weekly planning meeting with your colleagues (ideally held on a Monday). I promise you, you’ll be thanked for it. Your weekly planning meetings could look something like this: (oh, and don’t forget to record your plan in writing)
- Firstly, start by reviewing last week’s workload. What was achieved? Is anything still outstanding? What measurement/s are you using for reviewing the impact the work has had on your consumers/clients?
- Secondly, chat about the tasks you know need be accomplished that week (and prioritise them by date/time deadline). Bounce ideas off one another – two brains are better than one.
- Thirdly, review each upcoming task and assign to the staff member who is most qualified. Or, share the task with a colleague. Sharing is caring after all!
- Before ending the meeting, agree between yourselves that you’ve devised a well thought-out plan for the week and all areas of your workload are covered.
Planning encourages creativity and innovation
As I mentioned above, bouncing ideas off each other and turning these ideas into a solid plan will inevitably lead to creativeness. As well as your organisation, your clients/customers will benefit massively.
Planning helps to achieve your objectives
Within any business, we’re all working towards the same goal (whatever that goal might be). We all have specific targets/KPIs and it takes a lot of work to meet these. Planning automatically eases these aims and avoids losing sight of the end goal. Unity will always lead to success, and hence, an integrated approach that planning brings is ultimately of huge importance.
Planning creates control
One of the best things about planning is that it can literally be done anywhere: The boardroom, your desk (your colleague’s desk for that matter) or your local coffee shop… We’ve even held our planning meetings by the seafront!
You control the plan. The plan controls you. At any time throughout your day you can look back over your weekly/monthly/yearly plan, which is why it’s so important to not take the ‘work it out as we go along’ approach to your workload. Try not to write down your plans in a notebook that never gets open – jot down your plan on an A3 piece of paper that’s always in sight (and in the back of your mind).
Take ten minutes to step back from your hectic work schedule and take a holistic view on where you believe you’re at within your goal.
The end of the implementation of one plan is in turn followed by the implementation of another plan – the process of which starts immediately with a different objective in mind.