However much we plan our time, nobody can foresee every crisis that can occur on the spur of the moment, or those well-timed interruptions from key customers or the boss who has just found an urgent task that must be completed now. These are all part of the job, challenges that make life exciting and interesting, opportunities for us to shine and demonstrate our management skills and show how well we have our time under our control!
When these events occur, simply take a step back (and breathe), get the event into perspective, and review your daily plan. Adjust your priority list accordingly, ensuring that those who will be affected by you not completing that B task today, are aware of the reasons why you will be giving that job the priority it deserves tomorrow, instead.
1. Allow for interruptions within the framework of your daily plan
2. Allow for follow-on tasks that may be generated from the ones you have just done
3. Allow for crises that will inevitably involve adjusting your priority ratings
4. Avoid frequent short meetings when a telephone call, fax, memo or e-mail will do
5. Divide lengthy tasks into units – the Swiss Cheese method
6. Plan time for each unit, include planning time, and review time
7. Avoid meetings or appointments which are back-to-back
8. Aim to achieve something positive each day
9. Review tasks daily and allow for changing priorities
10. Keep yourself motivated by giving yourself a reward for achieving those major tasks
For more on managing time, check out our instant download Time Management customizable training package.
The BIG Planning Tip - Planning best practice
A big planning tip: Never make your plan all at once. Best practice says that you should start working on your plan by listing all the action items in your plan that you can think of; then, leave it for a few hours and return back to finish it later.
as soon as you sit down and write your action plan steps, instantly your left-brain kicks into action. It is the logical part that wants to go step by step because of the nature of that side of our brains. But, if you leave your plan for a while, you actually give the right side of the brain a chance to contribute to your plan. While engaging in any routine task such as getting a coffee, going for a walk, or even watching TV, your plan will be in the back of your mind. You may think of additional steps or better ways of performing each item or task. You will be surprised how many more steps or actions you will add when you return back to your plan that you either didn't think of on the first time or forgot all together.