Time to Plan

Time to Plan

Most professionals equate management planning with keeping lists, charts or digital diaries – i.e. planning the time ‘to do’.

But do we remember to plan the time ‘to plan’ in the first place?…  

  1. Spend the first 15 minutes of the day planning the day ahead. Lock-in the important & urgent things that day, deferring other matters arising to the following morning’s planning. Do not accept interruptions to your schedule for today.

  2. Put new queries on the planning agenda for tomorrow. This means that however tomorrow’s plan may change, today’s does not.

  3. Rise 30 minutes earlier in order to make time for planning and reflection.

  4. When the cost and time taken to do a (management or clinical) job exceeds the estimate, consider first amending the checklist for doing estimates – rather than undercharging, blaming either yourself or someone else. Improving the methodology of estimates is a permanent benefit to your business.

  5. Where possible, combine activities. For instance, planning of a meeting can be done whilst enjoying a walk, and your mental ‘action list’ for the day can be started in the shower. Look for activities which serve multiple purposes – could you spend time with your children and learn a sport at the same time?

  6. Grade “actions” by A, B, C in order of urgency (they should ALL be Important!) and the time to do it. Do the A’s first. Work on an A even if you can only spend 5 minutes on it, rather than picking off the C’s.

  7. Break large projects into bite-size pieces. Your estimate of how long it will take will be more accurate. Our working days are made up of a lot of 5 & 10-minute intervals.

  8. Break down your monthly, 90-day or annual target into a daily one. Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to reconcile time spent with daily target.

  9. Consider strategic alliances that allow other pet-professional key opinion leaders “warm market” access to yours and visa versa. Alliances are very time-efficient in bringing in new clients; but they usually take several months (even years) to mature. Client confidentiality and data protection law must of course be respected.

  10. Ask clients for referrals while they are still in the consulting room (not afterwards). Design a menu that informs them of the services you offer. Not only will this avoid extra “after-service” contact, it may prompt extra business while the relationship is at its strongest.

  11. If finance is troubling you, consult a financial professional or coach rather than trying to work out the options alone.

  12. Ensure you have adequate property, life, liability and disability insurance.

  13. What keeps you awake at night? Is your will up-to-date? List your worries and plan the time to deal with them. Who can help you? A problem shared is a problem halved, and tiredness is one of the worst time-thieves.

  14. Keep contextual Action Lists, and ensure they are of manageable and achievable size. An Action List is not a wish list or a good-ideas list – keep these elsewhere as ‘Someday Maybes’.
    Download Idea List


  15. Don’t set yourself impossible targets. If your Action Lists are too long, acknowledge that you can’t do them all and ask yourself “which will I have to drop?” We gain most by what we let go of.

 

By Alan Robinson

 

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