Nothing is more important than planning! Time management experts agree: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Plan in advance how a job is to be done, and it is half done.
Planning is crucial to good time management, but what many experts forget to remind us is that we need to schedule time to make plans. Put a date on your calendar to set goals, both short term-what you want to do this week and long term goals-what you want to accomplish this year.
Ted Engstrom, Time Management seminar leader advises that we spend at least 20-30 minutes a day, or two and a half hours a week, in planning. It may sound like a lot of time, but careful planning will save lots of wasted time later! And planning helps us focus our time on what we really want to accomplish so we don't end up wasting time on trivial pursuits. Without plans we end up spending all our time dealing with things as they come up. Careful planning puts us in control of the day.
Engstrom has a solution for those unexpected surprises that happen each day. He says-schedule two hours a day for the unexpected! For the phone call from a friend; for the neighbor who knocks on your door; for the child who needs some extra hugs; for the letter that arrives in the mail-for all those daily surprise, both the good and the unpleasant. If you plan for them to happen, they won't catch you unprepared. And, if the unexpected doesn't happen, you've gained extra time for things you want/need to accomplish!
Engstrom has one more rule about planning-stay flexible! Plan, but also have a back up plan. And be willing to revise your plans if you think of a better way as you are working.
Judy Warmington, Woman Time Management (owner) -- Busy wife, mother of three adult/married children, grandmother of 10 (5 boys and 5 girls!), former high school teacher (M.A. from W.M.U.), Speaker, Author, Radio Personality, and Trainer of Professional Organizers.