Do you Plan?
I have a belief that most people just allow life to happen to them. Every year I sit down on my birthday and set goals for the following 12 months. I write these down and keep the list in my bedside table drawer. I have several years of these goals now. It makes it easy to see what was important to me, what I accomplished, and where I failed.
Working through professional development with friends and co-workers I have learned too many of us are reactive instead of proactive in planning. It is easy to be consumed in the daily “fires” of our jobs and life. It is harder, and better, to have a plan and control how we fight those fires. Having goals will help you move forward in life.
How do I start?
1) Create a calendar, viewed by week. Days across the top and weeks down the left. I like to us MS-Excel for this.
Week of | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thur | Fri | Sat | Sun 4/30 | | | | | | | 5/7 | | | | | | |
2) Next, insert everything you know for the year. For example, vacations and trade shows should go on your calendar. You know the dates. Next block known holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, July 4th, etc.
3) You now have a working skeleton of a schedule. From a tactical standpoint you can layout travel for work or specific goals. For example, I layout regular travel to other offices on my calendar. I have challenged co-workers using similar tool to plan for territorial travel regarding sales.
When done you have a look at the next 13 months. Your next challenge is to identify recurring items, like weekly meetings, monthly meetings, doctors appointments, etc and add them to your Outlook or Gmail calendar. At a glance you should always know when you have an appointment.
“We must be able to look out 13 months and know where we are going, professionally and personally. Otherwise we are no different than a message in a bottle; we may have something important to say but leave our fate to the currents and waves of life. A plan allows us to instead navigate calm and storm alike. And, although we may be pushed off course our direction will generally take us where we want to go. The unguided bottle, on the other hand, cannot predict its fate.” – John Nelson