A blog by Peter Stinckens
There are always excuses not to use a planning. There are a thousand valid reasons for it. But reality shows, time and again, that working with a planning is much more efficient that working without one. And I’m not talking about a project planning or a strategic planning here (they to are important, but that not what we are talking about here).
I’m talking about your daily planning. What will you do when? How much time will it take? That’s the kind of planning I’m talking about. Now we do not like to do that. We think it takes our freedom away. Well, it doesn’t! It’s all work you will have to do anyway. Planning it will not change that. It will only allow you to do it when you want to do it and not when the urgency has caught up with you.
Maybe you think it’s impossible to determine in advance how much time certain tasks need. If that’s the case, you’re just not good at your job! Or you lack the experience to make that assessment. So, just go to a more experienced colleague and ask for help. And if it’s really a new task for you or your team, just get informed. Imagine how much more damage a job like that could do if you did not make a fairly right assessment of the amount of time it takes to complete it.
So plan your work. And plan it this way. Plan five hours or about 60% of your day with the major things you have to do (meeting, administration, projects…) and leave the rest blank! Blank, but firmly entered into your calendar system (call it whatever you like, but make sure that the time period is not registered as ‘free’. If you do that, it’ll get filled up anyway.
So that 40% extra time, that’s something you can use if you need more time for certain projects. Or you can use it for urgent things that need your immediate attention. Or, the few days you are so lucky, u can use it to get a head start on the next day.
I know, your situation is different. There are specific tasks and circumstances that do not allow you to work that way. Again, there will be thousand valid reasons not to do so. But here’s one reason to do so; you’ll work much faster without distractions and you’ll deliver a far better quality of work.
And how does this work? Well, imagine your partner asks you to put out the trash on Wednesday. You are a kind person, so you will gladly do this for your partner. And you reply “yes dear”. Great, now all you have to do is remember it. And, when and if you remember it, you’ll have to find the time to do so.
All the time, until Wednesday, it’ll be on your mind, occupying some very important mental processing capacity. That will make you diminish your working ability. If you have several of these things to remember, you can imagine how fast you’ll be working at 50% of your capacities (or less).
But what if you would put it into your smartphone, with a reminder. You would not have to remember it. It would be planned. And it would get done. And, more important, it wouldn’t diminish your operational capabilities anymore.