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Planning: Your Secret Weapon

Invest Time in Advance to Build More Success

Ever heard of the ‘5 Ps’? Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance?

Planning your day and your work may seem like a complete ‘no-brainer’, but you’d be surprised how many of us fail to do so consistently and effectively.

Since I have moved to the island, I've seen all variations of this with business owners. Helloooo. We KNOW the season is approaching. Why the last minute printing? Why the last minute rush orders? Why the last minute supply panics? Of course there are things you can't anticipate, but there are many things you can. And this one area is where our ACK businesses either sink or swim.

The more you plan, the more effectively your time will be spent. Being busy and being productive are two completely different things and, the more productive you can be, the less busy you have to be! Effective planning is the key to accomplishing your most important tasks.

Here are a few tips to help you plan your work and home life more effectively:

Set aside some planning time. Just 10 minutes can make all the difference. Most people find that either the beginning or the end of the day is the best time for them. Review your life and business priorities together, and try to do the same on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, to give yourself visibility of your upcoming priorities.

Know what your priorities are. You can’t plan ahead if you don’t know what is most important at what times. In order to work effectively, you need to be able to see the big picture.

Never confuse ‘urgent’ with ‘important’. These are two separate concepts, and most people have the habit of ‘fire-fighting’, always handling the urgent things, regardless of how high they actually should be on the priority list. Don’t let someone else’s crisis or poor planning lose you your focus on what you need to do.

Expect interruptions! We all have them on a daily basis; it’s just that most of us won’t know when they’ll happen. If you ignore the fact that you’ll be interrupted when you plan, you’ll end up disappointed that you didn’t achieve a full day’s tasks on your list. Give yourself some ‘wriggle-room’.

Keep yourself ‘in check’. As you progress through your day, make sure you’re working on the most important stuff right now.

Just a few minutes invested in effective and objective planning can save you hours and much pain in rework, missed deadlines and crises. It’ll also make you more relaxed and composed, as you know where you’re up to at any given time.

Planning is the act of controlling your own life, rather than your life controlling you. Once you achieve a state where you feel like YOU are in the driving seat, it is liberating and it can really help your attitude and approach towards your whole life, at work and at play.  It will provide you the energy you need to be truly effective and not just busy all the time.

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Marsha Egan is a board certified professional coach and island resident. Join her "Coaching at The Corner" discussions every other Thursday at Mitchell's Book Corner. $15 at the door with season passes (http://coachingingatthecorner.com/season-pass) available. For more information, please visit http://coachingatthecorner.com.

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What planning tips can you share with our readers?