Judith F. Guertin

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Plans, Planning, Planners and Productivity

Judith Guertin Posted in Getting Organized

Getting started on the path to greater and more satisfying productivity

Plans, Planning, Planners and Productivity

Getting started on the path to greater and more satisfying productivity begins with the three P’s Plans, Planning and Planners. So, let’s get started!

When you are trying to accomplish your work, how do you know what is required? Does your boss give you a list; do you create one for yourself, or with your team? What does the list represent? What will you see if you accomplish your work? Will you have a new product, or service? Will you be traveling to make a presentation? Will you hire a new employee, or land a new contract?

The 5 W’s used by reporters to give us the facts of a news story give us a place to start your list or to interpret the list given to you by someone else.

  1. Who? Am I the person who will be doing these tasks or are they more appropriately completed by some other person in the organization, or even an outside contractor?
  2. What? The tangible that will result from the steps that you will follow in your process.
  3. When? What is your time frame for completion? What is the very next step, what are the steps for the next week, the next month, or the steps for whatever period to achieve the end product?
  4. Where? Is this work to be completed in house, on a business trip, during a specific event, at some other location, at a client site or some other place? Do you need to build in travel, or possible delays?
  5. Why? What is the reason for this work? Is there something similar already in use? Is this busy work or is it adding something to the bottom line? We all need to accomplish regular and routine tasks that do not necessarily add to the bottom line, and they need to be done, but if this is all you work on you cannot accomplish the higher value items that bring revenue into your business. Think about why’s of your activities often. It may just be that something that seemed a high value, high priority item last week is now much less important or it has timed out and not important at all, or does little to add to the bottom line.

Now that you have thought about your plan and you are ready to move forward, where will you record the actions that you plan to do? Not writing things down may feel like you are leaving yourself open to the freedom to create when the inspiration strikes, but often though this is a lovely idea in theory, if you do not have the plan written somewhere, you will waste a great deal of time. You will have to hold all the steps on your mind, keeping this valuable resource bogged down and in a less creative state. You will review over and over and are likely to forget some really important items.

So what are the options for writing steps down? Some that you are already familiar with are: the paper planner, the online calendar, Outlook, or a hybrid of several of these methods. Then there are the papers to do lists, the electronic to do lists on your computer that are associated with your calendar, and yes of course there are “apps” for that. Some of the more pleasing to the visual learners out there are the Virtual Corkboards, and Mind Mapping Apps.

One word of caution about looking for and downloading numerous apps, in many instances the time spent looking for the best app, can itself become a distraction. So, if you already have a system that works for you, don’t feel guilty if you do not download yet another app. Again, the key is to understand what you like, and what you will actually use. Remember, that many of the tools native to your computer already have many of the functionalities you may need, you may just need some training to get the most of what you already have.

Now commit to the time of the day, the time of the week or month when you are going to accomplish the next items you have in your plan, no matter the form. If life intervenes and you need to change the time to later in the day or to a different day, you will still be positioned to continue in a straight path to the next step.

Not sure what to do next? Complete my free Productivity Scorecard and 30 Minute Discovery Session to see how you can become more productive!