How Planning Can Increase Your Productivity

July 3, 2014

by Emily Ginn

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Most business owners know the importance of planning, yet it’s not something they do consistently. Depending on the task or objective, planning can take time. It can feel overwhelming to think about all of the pieces that need to fall into place and there may be unknown factors in play. For these reasons, many people forego this crucial step and jump headfirst into their work. As you start to wade through the minutiae and details of a task, it is much too easy to lose sight of the larger picture. It doesn’t have to be this way. Planning doesn’t have to be scary- think about it as simply deciding which path you’re going to take to achieve your goals. If you’ve taken time to plan out the steps, it’s much easier to gauge your progress and make adjustments to correct course. Here are some methods you can incorporate into your routine today-

Change your mindset. It’s easy to say, but a little harder to actually do. Our minds are very powerful. If we approach the planning phase as a punishment, that’s the way it’s going to feel. Think about this step as a shortcut. You’ll feel more organized and prepared when you get started, ultimately saving time because your path is already charted.

Make it fun. Think different colors, different mediums. This is entirely personal preference. Nothing gets the juices flowing like breaking out of your normal routine. Get out of your office and change up the scenery. Instead of using your computer to plot things out, pull out a big dry erase board or chalkboard. Maybe write down different aspects of the task on sticky notes and then rearrange and organize it that way. Play with color-coding. Just do what feels right to you. If you get creative during the planning phase, it will feel less monotonous and more invigorating.

Forget perfection. You know what they say about the best-laid plans. Inevitably, something’s going to come up that you didn’t take into account. That’s ok! Combat this by building in a little wiggle room to account for those situations. Give yourself an extra day or two in your project deadline to absorb any delays. Letting go of perfection during the planning process can also help eliminate the stress and procrastination that accompanies it.

Go old-school with an outline. If you’re familiar with how to outline, this would be a great time to brush up on your skills. Put down the highlights of your task and fill it in from there. Outline format is an easy way to organize your thoughts, move them around and visualize the process.

Try these approaches and if you’re still having trouble, take a step back or ask a friend to take a look. A fresh pair of eyes can make a huge difference in your approach. Don’t be afraid of the planning process and don’t give into the temptation to just skip it completely. Put in the effort at the beginning in order to be more productive, efficient and deliver better results in the end.

Combining two different perspectives into one systemized service, Emily helps small biz owners take back control of their business and wrangle it into a well-oiled machine. With a methodical mindset and an eye for design, Emily creates a customized solution that works for YOU – proving that processes and procedures are the foundation for your growing empire and the key to rockin’ more revenue. In fact, why don’t you get started now? If one of the things on your eternal to-do list happens to be your newsletter, download a copy of 5 Simple Steps to Newsletter Success (a $49 value) and let’s get that ball rolling! (Hint: there’s a special bonus inside!)

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