Do me a favor. Tell me what you did this past Monday. Tell me exactly what you accomplished from the moment you got into your office until the minute you left.
If you’re like most professionals, your answer is something along the lines of, “When I got to the office I had 137 emails, 4 voice mails and I just dove into it.”
Now, I want you to consider a similar question. If I asked you on a Friday afternoon what you got done during the week what would you say? Again, I typically hear something like, “It’s Friday already? I’ve been putting fires out all week!”
Unfortunately, I can’t promise you that planning will eliminate all of the challenges you deal with each week. However, I can assure you that a few minutes of planning each day will dramatically increase your productivity over time.
“But CJ,” you’ll cry, “I’m working hard every day! I don’t take lunch and can’t remember the last time I got home before 6:30.” The problem isn’t the amount of hours you’re working. The problem is that you’ve got a lot of activity and very little achievement.
So, how do you change?
It’s really not all that difficult. First, get a piece of paper and break out your business into its basic components – sales, finance, operations, customer service, etc. Next, review each category and determine if there is a task/project/etc that you want to achieve during the upcoming week. Keep this list near you at all times.
Now that you know what needs to be done in order to have a successful week, make sure that you schedule time each day to work on something that was on your list.
If it’s really that simple why isn’t everyone doing it?
The reason is that planning for the future doesn’t provide us with the immediate response that we are so used to receiving. Unlike attending a meeting or responding to a customer service issue, thinking about your weekly goals five days in advance seems like a waste of time.
As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is execute.