Great planning ensures you maximise productivity. It can make or break the success of your project, and is integral to excel in everything you do in business. This is why planning is included as one of the core skills within my business fundamentals list. Practicing and implementing good planning techniques will help you become more productive and ensure you are meeting your business objectives. Let’s look at some ways we can ensure we are practicing great planning techniques.
What do you want to achieve?
When planning anything, a great technique is to think about what you want the main outcome to be and plan backwards from there. This will ensure each step you take will be towards your ultimate goal, maximising your chances of achieving it.
SMART goal setting
The acronym SMART stands for; Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Time-based. This is an established and recognised method for goal setting, and can be applied to every objective orientated project. Personally, I think the ‘A’ and the ‘R’ can be merged but either way, this is still great practice when it comes to setting goals, planning and undertaking project work.
Creating a SMART plan will help you create your step-by-step guide on how you can reach your desired outcome. All SMART steps are important, but be sure to create specific milestones within your plan so that your projects are delivered on time. Learn more about taking a SMART approach to goal setting here.
Great planning involves prioritising your important goals first. These might be the ones that hold up another task or aspect of the project. If you don’t get these done first, this may have a knock-on effect on the remainder of the project and potentially its completion. When creating your plan, write down what these are and be sure to include them in the early stages of your planning.
Trying to carry out too many tasks simultaneously is going to overload your brain and can potentially impact the quality of the work. When creating a plan, allow time to focus on individual tasks. 45 minutes is a good amount of time to spend uninterrupted on specific tasks. It has been found that the human brain decreases the amount of information it can absorb the more time you spend beyond this. If you plan your day by 45 minute intervals, you will optimise your time and be your most productive self. Make sure to give your brain time to reset and recover so that the next interval is just as productive as the last.
Sometimes it can seem daunting when creating a plan for a large project which requires significant work. This is where micro goals come in handy. They are exactly what they sound like, and will split your plan into bite-sized chunks which are much easier to manage. As soon as you meet a few of these micro goals, you will soon start to see the bigger picture taking shape. This approach also promotes positive thinking, and a feeling of accomplishment as you complete one stage and move onto the next.
Plan Your Day
The most successful people always start by planning what they want to achieve that day. Setting daily goals help them to be their most productive selves. As the days go by and you are meeting multiple goals, you will soon start to see these build up into a pattern of success. Here are some other ways successful people plan their time.
Technology that can help
Every Day Tools
There are many tools you may use or have access to that can help maximise your productivity and planning capability. Take your smartphone for example. Standard apps that are included across all operating systems include calendars, memos, task lists and reminders. All these features are fantastic to help plan your day or week. You can either create a daily task list at the beginning of each day, or schedule times in your calendar to focus on specific tasks or projects. Keeping such tools easily accessible will ensure you maximise their use are quickly available when you need them.
Project Planning Software
Microsoft Project and Trello are great tools when it comes to planning complex projects. They allow you to include multiple people in your project, and create time-based tasks and to do lists for the project team. This will help you to keep to deadlines for the more involved and critical business projects.
We previously looked at the importance of creating effective project teams. Software such as Microsoft Teams and Slack are great when it comes to planning and implementing large projects that have multiple project members. They allow you to plan and collaborate on projects online, giving your team a platform to set goals, communicate with one another, and work on project documents. This article will help you decide which is right for your business.
Keep planning your own way
As with most aspects of business, one size doesn’t fit all. Not everybody is going to approach planning in the same way. You will take a journey of discovery to see which methods work best for you. There are plenty of tools available to help you with this, and some are mentioned within this blog post. I can’t give you a recipe for planning success but I can tell you as soon as you find what works best for you, you will start to see a drastic increase in your productivity, positivity and overall success. By applying some of the tips mentioned in this blog you will soon start to understand what works best for you, and once you have figured this out, there will be no stopping you.
marketpreneurs can help you run a lean and effective business. We implement best planning practices on a daily basis and can help your business do the same. Get in touch today to find out all the ways we can help your business.