Planning and Productivity
Do you feel productive when planning? Productivity isn’t in the planning it is the execution. We can plan all day and not accomplish anything. This quote from General George S Patton puts it so well:
“A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
The other problem with planning is we look for perfection. You stop doing what needs to be done because you are unsure the next step is the right step. This puts you back in planning mode and your project does not move forward.
The process of planning and executing the plan is productivity.
Make a plan execute the plan
I can make a plan with the best of them. I review past experiences, decide what worked and what didn’t, and take the lessons to make a better plan.
Sounds great, right?
Yes, but I struggle with getting started. I plan every week and then I don’t refer to my plan or I negotiate with myself in the moment and decide to take a detour. It can be very discouraging at the end of the week.
What can I, and you, do to become better at execution?
Questions to ask yourself
Do these questions sound familiar?
- Why can’t I get started?
- Why am I excited about the week when planning, but when it comes to execution I lack motivation?
- Do I need to change how I schedule my day?
I’m tired of asking these questions every week so I decided to do some research and learn some new techniques to take me into action.
Some of these techniques you will know, but others may be new to you. If you’re having trouble getting started it won’t hurt to try some tried and true methods or maybe there will be something new to get you motivated. You will have to try to see.
Obstacles to execution
Here are a few of the common obstacles that I face.
- Not looking at my planner after I make a plan
- Not reviewing my weekly big three every day
- Not reviewing my goals every day
If we make a plan and never refer back to it the planning phase was pointless. How many times have you set a goal and totally forgotten about it until a kind-hearted friend reminds you of a conversation you have. Our brains will take the path of least resistance so we have to keep our plans top of mind by reviewing them.
What does it mean to execute a plan?
You have spent time planning and you are ready to execute. What does it mean to execute a plan?
To most of us executing a plan means following the plan step by step which will then lead to the outcome we desire. What happens if there is a hiccup? Some jump ship and the project is never completed. Others learn to modify their plan and continue forward. They may reach the original desired goal or a modified version but the goal is met.
The key to a well-executed project is being flexible. Planning is great but things rarely go as planned. I recommend before hitting the execution stage that you think of obstacles that may arise based on your plan. Then, you guessed it, alter your plan.
Altering your plan does not mean failure. It often means success.
Getting started is often the hardest part
Here are three tips to get you started on executing any plan. You will need to experiment to see what works for you. If you are like me then your needs change depending on the day.
Time block your calendar
Scheduling time on your calendar to work your plan is imperative. If you don’t set proper boundaries then the next bright shiny object you see will be your priority.
Set yourself up for success
You blocked out the time on the calendar, now what?
Set yourself up for success by setting up what you will need to be successful the day or the night before.
If it is a work project plan your tasks for the next day before you leave your desk. If it is a school project layout the texts you will need. If it is a personal project gather your supplies and make sure they are in a convenient spot when you are ready to work.
Set up accountability
There are many ways to create accountability. You can share your plan with friends or colleagues. You can join an accountability group on Facebook. You can work with a coach who checks in with your progress each week.
Accountability keeps your projects and goals front of mind when you know someone is rooting for you. It is a great way to stay motivated.
Someone who executes a plan is going to feel productive and feeling productive leads to a feeling of success. When we practice getting started and executing we build our execution muscle.
Discussion: Do you sit on your plans or go straight into execution? Let me know in the comments below.