Effective planning takes into consideration both the job/task and the time required to do it. You can put the following questions to yourself as an aid to planning:
1. Results: What is the objective on the whole? How do I intend to reach that objective? What are the various sectors of responsibility for the objective?
2. Tasks What do I have to do in order to reach my objective?
3. Areas of responsibility How closely is my task connected to my sector of responsibility?
4. Order of importance What is the right order of importance of the things I have to do that will enable me to carry out my task?
5. Use of time How much time do I need in order to carry out each task?
6. Timetable What time will I use to complete the task?
7. Flexibility How flexible should I be in carrying out unexpected tasks?
The first three questions focus on your areas of responsibility and the second three concern your use of time in planning. You will need to start a new practice for managing both groups.
Outline your current use of time. Draw up a plan to make your use of time more effective: calculate the time allocated to do the tasks set, and whilst you do it consider the use of time for planning. Be flexible, don’t ever plan any phase with no time to spare. Make allowances for unexpected matters that may crop up. Keep a list of tasks that do not have a specific time limit. If a meeting or a negotiation with a customer can be managed in a shorter time than you have reserved for it, you can use the time gained to take care of some of the items mentioned earlier. Remember to reserve some time for yourself as well.
Many people manage to make effective plans for using their time without realizing it. Day-to-day ‘Do it today’ – lists are a good place to start from. The next step forward in planning your use of time is to make a time-linked daily job list.
But you need different kinds of planning periods
You need: annual, monthly, weekly, and daily planning, as all phases will differ from each other to some extent.
An annual plan will be general in nature and will provide the guidelines, for example, the annual budget, training programme for the year, or marketing strategy, and so on.
The monthly plan is slightly more defined than the annual plan. It’s reviewed a month at a time and put under the magnifying glass, to check the things that have to be looked after during the following month. At the end of each month, plan the next month. The goal of the monthly plan is to realise the objectives for that particular month which should then lead to reaching the goals for the whole year.
The weekly plan is a liitle further defined. During this phase you take one week at a time, and again under the magnifying glass, define the tasks that have to be managed during the week. At the end of each week plan the programme for the following week. Draw up your plan in writing; recording first, all jobs and meetings that have been agreed on beforehand. Following that phase you should ask yourself how much time is still available and how will you use it. The goal of the weekly plan is to realise the objectives for that week which should then lead to achieving the goals for the whole month.
The daily plan, though, is the most important of all planning phases. This is the day where you can exert your influence. All the other planning phases will remain as an illusion if you can not keep to the plan you make for using this day. Don’t ever plan to fill your day completely; leave room for the unexpected matters that crop up and allow yourself some ‘flexible time’. During this time you could, for example, check the incoming post or make a summary of the previous meeting before going onto the next. Remember to reserve enough time for getting from one place to another.
I recommend that your time-linked plan should always be made in writing. It’s more than likely that you will be able to set course for the goals you have set for yourself if you have the plan written down in black and white. At the end of each phase make a plan for the next phase. Adopt a new way to plan the tasks for the following week before you leave work for the weekend. Make it a habit to plan the following day’s work before you leave work for the day.
MAKING DAILY PLANS
IS TURNING GOOD INTENTIONS
SUMMARY OF PLANNING
- Plan both the tasks that have to be done and the time necessary to do them.
- Develop the planning process by answering the following questions:
What are my objectives? How do I intend to reach them?
What do I have to do in order to reach my objectives?
How closely is my objective linked to my areas of responsibility?
What is the order of priority for the tasks at hand?
How much time do I need in order to carry out each task?
In what time will I carry out each task?
How flexible should I be in carrying out unexpected jobs that crop up?
A degree of flexibility helps in planning.
- Make a written plan for all your use of time. At the end of each phase, make a plan for the next phase.
- Make a new way to plan on Friday what you have to do the following week.
- Make a habit of planning the following day’s work before you leave for the day. Make sure that when you prepare a ‘Do-it-today’ list that it complies with your tasks, in order of importance.
- Set yourself a time limit and aim to keep to it.
- Don’t fill all the time available in your plan.
- Make allowances for unexpected matters that may pop up.