Thursday, March 17, 2011

10 Tips for Better Planning and Increased Productivity

Planning contributes greatly to the success of any initiative – but ONLY IF THE PLAN IS IMPLEMENTED! To many this has proven to be the most difficult part of the process but the most essential. So when you’ve made the commitment of developing a business, marketing or sales plan it’s also very important to develop an implementation plan. Here are 10 tips for “getting it done”.

1.     Have your plan broken down to action items on a monthly basis. At the beginning of each month review your action items for that month and schedule them in.
2.     Have benchmarks along the way for larger goals – so you know that you’re on track.
3.     Have a system of accountability. That may be a coach or consultant that you meet with on a regular basis. It could be your participation in a mastermind group. Or it may be as simple as you and a colleague keeping each other on track with nudges, pushes and kicks along the way.
4.     Break projects down into manageable action items with a time line given to each item. Transfer these action items to your master monthly action plan. That project that you’ve been putting off forever will be done before you know it!
5.     Get organized! If you don’t know where to start, hire someone to help you. It will be worth it in the long run.
6.     Create systems in your business. This simplifies implementation, saves time and money, and increases your productivity. Again, if you have a difficult time with this, it’s worth the investment to get a pro to help you.
7.     Group ‘like’ actions - so that once you’re in ‘the zone’ you will get on a roll and actually get things done. Don’t go back and forth from e-mail to development to phone work to meetings.
8.     Schedule a time for e-mail and phone. Our instant access to everyone, anytime, any where will kill your productivity if you don’t stay in control of it. Remember – YOU are in control of IT!
9.     Try a new rule – “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” – pick one and eliminate ‘to do’s’ floating around your in-box or stuffed in a file folder. A bit of advice – pick ‘delegate’ a lot more than you currently do.
10.   When your day goes to hell in a hand basket and you can’t do everything on your list what then? Set your priorities as follows:
a. Is there something committed to a client?
b. Is there a deadline that if not completed will have something else crashing?
c. Is it going to make me money?

Our ability to be productive is directly related to our ability to relax. When our thoughts are scattered and our mind is jumbled it’s impossible to achieve stress-free productivity. And forget effective multi-tasking – science has proven there’s no such thing except for maybe walking and chewing gum. So the BONUS TIP is take time for yourself, take vacation, and take time to exercise… be with friends and family… whatever makes you happy.

Originally published in New Life Business Newsletter March 2011