24 Jul 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?…
- 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.
- Put new queries on the planning agenda for tomorrow. This means that however tomorrow’s plan may change, today’s does not.
- Rise 30 minutes earlier in order to make time for planning and reflection.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If finance is troubling you, consult a financial professional or coach rather than trying to work out the options alone.
- Ensure you have adequate property, life, liability and disability insurance.
- 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.
- 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
- 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