'Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail'
Its Monday morning, I have a to-do list the length of my arm, and I'm expecting that there will be a million things thrown my way to distract me and throw me off course, and in the current situation throw in some homeschooling and battling with my other half on who's turn it is to change a nappy and you have yourself a stress bomb before you even start. Sound familiar? I feel for you.
That used to be me, overwhelmed and frustrated with everything that I needed to do and not knowing where to start. Chaos is fun sometimes, but chaos while trying to run a successful business.........stressful! Planning your day, week or month can be the difference between:
So why is planning so important? Well apart from the above, in a nutshell, if you want to succeed you have to plan.
"A good plan is like a road map: It shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there" - H.Stanley Judd.
Don't get me wrong you may get there eventually without a plan, but the chances are it will cost you time, money and a whole heap of mistakes before you do.
Myself I'm an avid planner but I live with someone who is a chaos lover and as I watch him work through projects not only does it drive me crazy that he doesn't know what he is doing in the next 2 hours let alone the next day, but I also watch him often take 2 steps forward and 1 step backwards. Spending time and money undoing and redoing things that wouldn't have gone wrong if he had planned.
Any avid planner including myself will tell you that planning your day increases efficiency and productivity. It helps you to manage and make the most of your time. We all know that with the hustle and bustle of today time is precious, in our work and home lives. Knowing that we have made the most of the time we have makes us feel like we are achieving, reduces stress and boosts our mental health.
If planning is something that you avoid because it seems like a bore or you just don't know where to start. My 5 tips below might give you the boost that you need to see that it's just not that bad.
1. Write a to-do list.
This is defiantly my top tip, if you do none of the other tips please make this your priority. Getting all of the things that you need to do out of your head and written down will feel like a weight has been lifted, I promise. Don't get me wrong you still have to complete the tasks but not having to remember them is 1 less thing to do.
2. Set deadlines.
Setting a deadline is a great way to keep you on track and to make yourself accountable for your tasks. Try setting your deadline for earlier than you need to, that way you will have some wiggle room if a curve ball is thrown your way.
3. Use your calendar.
Blocking out time in your calendar to complete your tasks is a great way to set deadlines, but be realistic with how long each task will take you and don't be afraid to split larger tasks down into chunks across a few days, this will make them less overwhelming and help to keep your motivation going to get it finished.
4. Set a routine and stick to it.
Like most, if you have reoccurring tasks that you do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. set a reoccurring appointment in your calendar to make sure that they always get your attention on time and are never forgotten.
5. Not now v's yes and no
We all know that our days are never straight forward and there is always something that we couldn't plan for. As businesses owners it is very difficult to say 'no' especially when it is a request from a client. So we end up saying yes and adding other unexpected tasks to the list with a deadline that adds extra stress. Instead of saying 'yes' why not try saying 'not now' and by this I mean take the request on board, explain that you want to give the request the time that it deserves and book the task into your calendar, informing the client of when it will be completed.
6. Bonus tip - reward yourself
All work and no play makes you a dull boss, it is important that you pay attention to yourself and reward yourself when you have completed something. This can be as small as a coffee when you have finished a task, a bubble bath and a glass of when you finish a list or something that you have been wanting to buy at the end of the month. Whatever you choose to reward yourself with make it count.......you deserve it!