As responsible for this blog, I asked three of our most experienced consultants to come up with their most important planning advice to participants in the PEP® program. Together they have more than 60 years’ experience providing our PEP® participants with significantly improved work habits, less stress and better efficiency. The advice presented below concludes the theme of Planning. Please use the advice given to you here - Do It Now!
Take care of the time optimist within you
"One of the main reason for failed planning is the fact that we are time optimists. We want to achieve too much too quick. Have you ever experienced that you booked your calendar with several specific tasks for that day, only to realize that none of them has been done by the end of the day and you still feel like there is no time over? This creates frustration and stress.
To get a clear overview of your working days and weeks we advise you to make an inventory after each day and at the end of each week. No precise measurements, in the form of minutes or hours, are needed. Just an estimate at the end of the day or week will be sufficient.
If you make an inventory during a two weeks’ period you will be surprised to realize where most of your time is consumed. Use the results as a tool for future planning and prioritization. "
Anne-Marie Hansson Efficiency Consultant PEP®worldwide.
Create an overview
"Make time for your own work, not just meetings and things you do with others.
This gives you a good overview of your work, which helps you focus on the right tasks during the day and creates the prerequisite for being able to set your priorities straight.
With this you can clearly see what tasks you finished and what you spend most of your time on. "
Ann Antonsson Project Manager and Senior Consultant PEP®worldwide.
Collect information in one place
"We often note things to remember at many different places. Flagged emails in the inbox, calendar appointments, post-it notes and to-do lists! This makes it very difficult to get an overview and forces us to spend a lot of time just to find out what to do next! In addition, we risk choosing the simple task instead of the most important and lose track of our priorities.
The suggested model is instead to gather all your planning in one place! Preferably in your electronic calendar where you can book your meetings, sync to a phone and where it is easy to move an appointment if you need to re-prioritize. This gives an overview of WHAT to do, WHEN to do it and HOW LONG it takes. Make clear notice of what you should do instead of writing "own work". Then it gets easier to PRIORITIZE if something unexpected should turn up!
If you decide to try the above – then remember to transfer everything to the calendar - even things that you only have in your head. Also remember that every day contains a degree of recurring work, like taking care of emails and addressing new and unforeseen events. Make sure your plan includes a certain amount of time for that! You cannot book the calendar full of appointments, you need some space to handle the unpredictable.
If you follow the above, you will sleep better at night, and rest assure that the calendar tells you when to do what. As a bonus effect this will reduce the risk of missing something. You also know that you can relax on your spare time. Does this sounds like it might be worth trying? "
Paulina Nilsson Project Manager and Senior Consultant PEP®worldwide