The practice of doing weekly and daily planning are imperative when we want to improve our power of focus – getting the most important things accomplished. The four-step process we advocate when using our iPhone app Today and Not Today can be applied to weekly planning.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the same four-step strategy when planning out your week.
What I know about time management I have harvested through my lack of time and focus management. Many of these lessons were hard-earned.
Asking my mind to function in an abstract-random manner is easy. Asking it to move into linear thought patterns takes more effort.
It’s a good thing that I’m a gifted “connector” who can tinker with what might be un-related concepts and meld them together creating useful insights, tools, and strategies.
I was able to take my hard-earned knowledge from time management, and blend it with the neuroscience concepts I learned as an educator. I took the notion of left and right brain facilitation and added my creative means of staying on focus and the outcome produced the planning tool known as Today and Not Today.
Recently a client asked to me share with him the background and thinking that birthed this tool. So, I spent about eight minutes and in a lucid stream of consciousness gave him what he asked for.
Luckily, he recorded our conversation. And because he is a generous man, he agreed that I could share this information with you.
He and I hope that it will prove useful as you work to enhance your daily and weekly planning.
Sometimes it is wiser to get yourself quick small wins in terms of your daily “to do” list than it is to take on the biggest, hardest task first.
To this point, a study tracked customers who were given frequent visit cards at two different car washes. Both establishments offered a free visit when all eight spaces on a card had been stamped.
At one car wash, customers were handed their first card with a 20% head start – two of the eight slots were already stamped.
At another location the customers had to start from scratch and work on filling out the entire eight spaces on their own.
Interestingly, after a few months only 19% of those who had to earn all eight-stamps had earned their free car wash. Conversly 34% of those who had the head-start card had earned their free wash.
Many times we find it motivating to have a portion of a goal accomplished right out of the starting gate. On those days when your will-power is low use this bit of knowledge to your benefit. Give yourself the boost of one or two quick wins by planning easy to accomplish tasks first.
And should you try this quick win strategy on, I’d love to know how and when it worked for you.
The research referenced above is taken from the book Switch, How to Change Things When Change is Hard. Currently I’m reading this book by Chip and Dan Heath in conjunction with an article written by John Tierney titled: Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue? Both are quite informative in terms of understanding common roadblocks that prohibit us from making significant change. If you are interested in the article e-mail me, and I’ll send you an electronic copy.
Today I worked with a client who has struggled to fully utilize the Today and Not Today tool. We sat down and looked over how she was attempting to plan out her day using this tool.
The items on her “to do” list included:
Insure that the loan officers are delivering quality customer service.
Monitor the training of new employees to make sure they are properly oriented on the company policy in terms of customer service.
Manage the customer service call center.
It might be occurring to you as it did to us that the items on her list require systems and structure in order to complete them. These items are big, broad and strategic.
The Today and Not Today tool is NOT designed to organize your mind around large strategic projects. It is designed to organize the tasks floating around in your head that need to get accomplished one-at-a-time.
Today and Not Today can indeed support you when working to accomplish a larger strategic project IF you take time to break your project down into smaller bite-size chunks – tasks.
And that is the key to accomplishing large projects and goals – You must first break these into work packages and corresponding tasks.
Today and Not Today is all about helping you stay focused on your priority tasks each day.
Only use it to sort through your small, bite sized tasks.
When you are focused on big goals and larger projects take time to break those down into do-able steps before you add them to your daily planning.