A plan is a commodity needed by every manager but every manager does not necessarily have one. Some managers do not understand the value of a plan, because of this they do not get the results that they could potentially realize. Other individuals pay great attention to how they develop their plans and because of this attention they receive the rewards of their effort. This article can serve as a launching pad for you to implement effective planning skills. Planning for managers can be learned if the appropriate principles are put into action. Listed are six skills to get you started.
- Evaluate your current time spending habits. Knowing where you spend your time will enable you to evaluate if you are getting the best value out of your day. It may help to keep a diary or a software tool to help show you how you spend your time on a daily basis so that you can evaluate it at the end of the day.
- Establish your values and priorities. Ask yourself a few questions. What is important to you as a individual and as a corporate employee? Create a plan that will allow you to spend time on activities that will bring you the most benefit and aligns with your values and priorities. Once you have made these determinations, proceed with confidence to realize success in your quest for effectively executing your plan.
- Use a daily planner. Whether you choose to use a paper, the calendar on your smartphone, or an online tool, ensure that you have enough space to see at a glance your ‘to do’ list and calendar of events as well as long range goals. A planner is intended to be a constant companion.
- Fine-tune your ‘to do’ lists. Every day should start by prioritizing your list. When you fine tune your ‘to do’ list, you will have to determine what has to be done today that cannot be carried over to tomorrow and which activities will reap the most benefits as it pertains to your goals and priorities.
- Manage your telephone and email messages. Do not take phone calls whenever the telephone rings or whenever your computer alerts you of incoming messages. Set aside designated time in your day to listen to voicemails, read emails, and text messages. This is imperative in successful daily execution. If you do not set aside a specific time for this task, it can gobble up a huge chunk of your day.
When you do return voicemails, try not to multi-task during your telephone call. Focus is a crucial ingredient to effective planning. When you focus on a person or a conversation you are potentially speeding up the communication process and ensuring that key information is being conveyed completely and correctly. It is also advisable to remember that people are not tasks and therefore needed to be treated with respect and dignity. By focusing your attention on an individual, you are showing respect and ensuring that nothing is hindering the communication process that could otherwise cost you time and effort.
- Establish boundaries for co-workers, family, and friends. You may have an inclination to say ‘yes’ to every request without scrutinizing the consequence. Be assertive and inquire as to what exactly is involved in the request. Be sure that any expectations are reasonable and attainable.
Summing up, effective planning for managers can only be achieved through diligent effort and improved management skills. If you implement the skills listed above, you can begin to realize your desire to live in the realm of effective planning as a manager.