Making Time to Plan is an Investment of Time

When the day begins for those in positions of leadership and responsibility, it can feel as though each moment is spoken for. Although many people in such positions hold the perception that they are very efficient with how they allocate their time, the reality is that those who do not choose to devote 10 to 15 minutes of time to plan their day are missing out on the opportunity to substantially increase their productivity, responsiveness, and effectiveness.

While daily planning is a practice that is espoused in several leadership publications and time management seminars, those who embrace the discipline and utilize the techniques of intentionally allocating time, preparing in advance for meetings, and prioritizing tasks are actually few.

Just as those who wish to experience long-term financial success take the time to educate themselves and adhere to the discipline of investing their money wisely, a leader who wishes to impact their specific sphere of influence must consider investing their time and energy with the thought of measurable returns.

Becoming an expert in how time can be best allocated among all of the areas of responsibility to enhance productivity, better care for the growth of team members, and enhance communication is one of the few areas over which one can exert control and ensure positive returns. Spending time in the completion of tasks is very different from investing time in leveraging efforts towards short-term, intermediate, and longer-term goals.

When a leader considers the skill set that is likely to better enhance their effectiveness than any other, planning and the efficient use of time is likely at the top of the list.

Leveraging Daily Planning to Enhance Longer-Term Progress

The one resource that is allocated equally among the ultra-successful and those who toil each day in frustration and reaction, is time. Everyone receives 168 hours per week. It stands to reason that those who are most efficient in its use will have the greatest number of options with regard to allocating the remainder of their time.

What is absolutely known, is that leaders who choose to react to items as they appear, retro-fit solutions to projects that were not completed to the proper standards, or simply move from crisis to crisis will surrender control of the amount of time that must be applied to bring these issues to conclusion.

By taking the time to plan and prioritize time each day, tasks that are completed are noted and checked off. Progress toward short-term and intermediate goals are charted and tracked with relative ease. By taking time to consider short-term and intermediate goals in the context of the daily planning session, you may avoid the trap of becoming consumed in the press of the immediate and the need to extricate yourself from the spiral of reaction. Even on a day when everything goes sideways, you can still see the small steps towards progress that have been made and those tasks not completed can be prioritized forward.

Leaders know that bringing a project from vision to reality requires not only the capacity to plan long-term, it also means that measuring and communicating progress to those who are invested in the outcome. Keeping the team informed and feeling that their contributions are noticed is very important. A benefit from the discipline of daily planning is a “scorecard” of accomplishments that can be shared and evidence of good work that can be affirmed. Most importantly by investing time in planning daily with an awareness of their short, intermediate, and long-term goals, you can maximize the allocation of the finite resource of time in the most efficient way possible.

One Can Always Modify From a Plan

When one has a very carefully considered plan to move a project from vision to reality, the ability to change that plan is far superior to simply reacting “on the fly”. Successful planning involves considering contingencies, imagining where areas of efficiency may be realized, and building the capacity of the team one severs during the process. With these considerations made and this level of awareness included in your daily planning and prioritization, you have a much more manageable situation should factors outside of your control change unexpectedly.

Having a long-term plan and taking time to be intentional about the time you spend every day go hand and hand in positioning you for success. By adhering to this discipline, you can move from managing situations that arise to bringing small and large initiatives that move the company forward, to fruition.

A very wise colleague shared:

“…that those who avoid budgeting their money because they do not wish to be constrained… find they have much less discretionary income than those who follow a budget closely. Those who avoid specifically avoid allocating the resource of time… will find that it slips away and is lost. In contrast, those who invest time carefully are able to make it work for them and those they serve.”

Daily planning is just one step toward transforming your overall internal culture. Learn how to create the culture change your business needs to excel by downloading our FREE workbook: The Innovative Leader’s Guide To Transforming Company Culture…Starting With Yourself.