Think Ahead – Plan Ahead

Planning the year ahead

Do you have a tendency to leave things to the last minute? Are you always trying to catch up or constantly dealing with a backlog?

When you plan ahead, you’re aware of what’s coming up and can take appropriate or evasive action to make sure it does or doesn’t happen.

What’s happening next week? Plan the time to do the work this week rather than leaving it until next week and then finding out that something else has come up and now you don’t have as much time as you thought.

What big projects do you have coming up in the next few months? Plan in project work time in advance. Set aside one or two hours spread over a few weeks before it’s due. Avoid leaving it to the last minute when you’ll then have to find the time because it’s now urgent and end up stressed out and working late into the evenings or early morning to get it done.

Front load your tasks. Do as much as you can in the early stages, so the nearer it gets to the time it’s needed, the less you have to do and the easier it is to manage.

What regular tasks do you have that you can plug into your calendar in advance? Those monthly payments or annual renewals. Set them as a reminder one or two weeks before they’re due.

Use a wall chart near your desk which has key dates or important commitments clearly marked so they’re a visible and regular reminder.

You’re less likely to forget things if you plan ahead. It’s easy to lose track of things day to day, especially when you’re busy or you’re keeping everything in your head. If you have a system and process you can add reminders – set and forget.

When you plan ahead you don’t find yourself at a loss of what to do or losing time because you haven’t thought of those things that need doing and now find that you don’t have time and they really need to be done.

Give yourself time to negotiate if you need to. Perhaps realising that because other things come up, you now won’t be able to meet a commitment made a few months ago. You might be able to move deadlines if you give people enough notice, rather than leaving things to the last minute and then having to apologise for being late or not doing your best work because you’re in a rush.


Holiday – plan ahead

Going away on holiday? Plan ahead and create a countdown checklist. What do you need to do one month, two weeks, one week before you leave?

At work: Avoid the customary last minute rush to get projects finished, working late to get them done, forgetting your out of office message, organising appropriate handover and cover while you’re away.

Block out catch-up time for the day you’re back in the office. No meetings – except status updates, catch-up sessions with your team.

At home: Organise your insurance, passport, visa, medical requirements well in advance. Arrange any sitters, cleaner, gardener, get bills paid, ‘cancel the milk’, tell your neighbours or other things around the house while you’re away.

Create a packing list for clothes, toiletries, documentation. Layout what you plan to take a week before, so you can fill any gaps. Pack the bulk one or two days before and then the last few things the day before.

Short term – planning ahead. What’s coming up this week or next? How does that affect what you need to do today, this week, next week in preparation?

Avoid putting off things you can do today until tomorrow because sods law tomorrow will be busy with other stuff and the time you thought you had isn’t there.

Long-term – planning ahead. What needs to be done this month, next month, next year? Where are your goals taking you?

Get on top of your productivity, reduce your stress and anxiety when you’re able to look, think and plan ahead.

Experience the calm that comes from being in control when you forward plan.