Time Triage by Terry Monaghan
Last spring, a workshop participant sent an e-mail asking me to clarify how she could take her schedule and transform it to the schedule she designed in the workshop. My first response: You have to sit down and do some planing, and I remember thinking, “Wow, she really doesn’t know what I am talking about!”
This made me come up with a basic structure for clients to plan out their projects, the fulfillment of their goals, their vacations, their lives, etc.
What do you think might be possible if you set aside 90 minutes each day when you could just focus on your most important project? Don’t answer the phone, don’t answer the e-mail, don’t answer the door. Unfortunately, that’s not always possible.
What is needed is a simple framework for planning that can be applied and adapted to any situation.
Remember, I said simple. It consists of seven basic steps outlined below. Think of it as a process of asking and answering a series of questions.
Set the objective. What is your intended outcome? What is the point of the activity or task? The answers keep you on track and keep you connected to your goal. Without those questions, the goal becomes too easy to forget and the task becomes some horrible version of going through the motions with no real point.
Assess the present situation. What is your starting point? What resources are available? What resources are not yet available? Knowing exactly where you are as you begin to plan is just as important as knowing where you want to go. Think of your plan as the output of a GPS. You have to enter two key pieces of information: where you want to go and where you are.
Examine your alternatives. Brainstorm. what are all the possible ways you could get where you are going?
Decide your course of action. Determine the schedule and milestones for the project. Decide who is going to do what, when, where. Communicate it. Schedule it. Many plans fall apart when it comes to putting everything into the calendar. Remember, you aren’t operating in a vacuum. There will be activities and other tasks in the schedule that will affect your plans.
Provide for control. When are you going to review progress? How will you determine if you are ahead or behind? What will you do when breakdowns occur (and they will)? What if you are way ahead of schedule?
Implement the plan. Go do it! Follow the plan. Review your progress. Correct and adjust course as necessary. Incorporate new information as it becomes available.
Repeat steps 1 through 6. Before you know it, you will have reached your desired objective.
Terry Monaghan is CEO of Organizing For Your Life LLC. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c) 2010 Washington Business Journal. Used by permission.