Planning with a Purpose
Today we’re talking about planning. Yes, that’s right, we will plan to plan. As an entrepreneur I know what you’re thinking—I’ve got client work to catch up on, kids to haul around to school, a schedule that is never-ending and now you want me to add time to plan? Are you serious? Yes, you heard me right! Here’s the tough love: if you don’t make time for planning you will continue to run around like a crazy person, always busy but never really accomplishing what’s on your list. Do you want to be busy or do you want to grow a business? Yeah, I thought so! Read on for tips on how to plan properly.
Spend the first part of your day creating your plan
While it may feel somewhat counterintuitive to start the day off without doing any “actual” work. Planning for your day will help to set you up for success. Just take the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the day to create a plan. You can also spend the last part of the previous day creating the plan if that works better for you. Some people like to keep a hand-written planner or notebook, or you could do this on your computer with a calendar or even in Evernote. Either way, planning out the steps you will take each day will help you to be more productive.
Schedule the most important tasks first
If you have something with a looming deadline, you don’t want to have that hanging over your head all day. Try scheduling those important tasks first and you will find that you feel less stress overall. You will also want to think about those tasks that require a greater amount of brain power and make sure to schedule those during the time you are most alert and ready to work.
Don’t pack in too much in one day
When we first start filling in our calendars it’s easy to get a little overzealous and pack every minute with a new task. In order to be effective at planning you need to give yourself a little breathing room. If you think something will take thirty minutes, it’s better to give yourself forty-five minutes to complete it. Trying to jump quickly from one task to the next with no wiggle room is a recipe for burnout
Plan to take some breaks
When planning your day be sure to put in some time for breaks. As entrepreneurs it is so easy to just work through the entire day (and some of us may even forget to eat lunch a time or two). Think about why you started your own business in the first place. It was probably so you could have some freedom over your schedule. There is no need to treat yourself like a slave. Take some breaks, step outside, and don’t forget to eat lunch!
Distractions can kill a plan quicker than you can create one. Don’t let distractions derail your focus! For a lot of entrepreneurs, email and social media are the two culprits behind plans that fail. If you know that these easily distract you, create time in your schedule to check your email, and don’t be tempted to respond every time you hear an email notification (better yet, turn out notifications all together). While social media can be a time waster, it can also help grow your business, so schedule in time where you will check Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or whichever platforms you currently use. You can also delegate your social media to a VA or someone in your organization if you know that you don’t have time to manage it yourself.
When it comes to creating a plan, the hardest part is getting used to a new way of doing things. The next time you are feeling like skipping a break, or find yourself getting side tracked by social media, just remember that if you want to grow your business you have to treat it like one. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”
Dawn Sinkule, the Founder of Digital Dawn, is an MBA graduate, Strategy and Business Growth Consultant as well as a Certified Online Business Manager with more than 16 years of corporate experience working for a Fortune 50 company. Dawn and her team work with passionate six figure business owners who want to grow, expand, and explode their businesses. Dawn and the DD team provide your choice of self-implementation or fully done for you solutions, and both include detailed business strategies, automation, systems, and most importantly the satisfaction of knowing your business is heading the right direction. Her clients get not only the experience of a Fortune 50 leader, but also a personalized and customized strategy as well as an implementation team: AKA your secret weapon for success.