Jan 052010

2010 flew by quite quickly for a lot of people and businesses.  What lessons have we learnt from the past 12 months?  What is empowering that we can bring forward to 2011 and make it better?  What can we throw out of the window?  What is your plan for 2011?

The objective of strategic planning is to restructure activities and resources so that the return of money invested yields a higher return, whether it is profit or energy.  Every minute spent on planning your goals, activities and time saves ten minutes of work in the execution process.

Planning should be a part of your daily activity and should not take more than half an hour.  The planning process itself will save you time of approximately 4 hours per day, or a 25 percent increase in productivity and performance from the day you begin your daily planning in advance.

Write down everything that you can think of that you will need to do in the future, be it for the day, week, month or year.  As new ideas, goals and tasks arise, write them down.  Do not try to commit this to your memory.  I met someone recently who carries a worn notebook with her everywhere and she starts jotting down whenever an idea comes to her mind.  Today, there are sophisticated PDAs and personal computers to help you plan with greater efficiency.

Plan each month in advance and this is best done in the last week of each month.  Plan each week in advance the weekend before.  Plan each day in advance the night before.  Plan every project, meeting and goal in detail before you begin.  Regular planning increases your effectiveness and efficiency and gives you more time to accomplish activities of higher value.  The trick is to “think on paper”!  The more you think about and write on paper, the faster and more efficiently you will accomplish it.  Once you develop this habit, your stress level will decline and your productivity will increase.

Dec 282009

The one quality which is common in all successful people and leaders is that they have a clear and exciting vision for the future.  Successful leaders spend time thinking about the future and plan for the future each day.  They develop a clear picture of where they want their organisation to be in the next one, three and five years.  And, they communicate this vision with so much passion that others “buy in” with excitement as well.

All businesses require a vision.  A business without a vision has no soul.  Without a soul, the business has no heart and thus, no passion.  Ironically, this is not in business only, but also in the personal lives of individuals.  A business, or even life, without passion is like one’s demise has already been foretold.

Visions are both personal and impersonal.  It is the future possibilities of what can be.  The first vision is for your life.  The second is for your business.  Together, they arouse emotions and become the driving force for the growth of a company.  Together, they motivate people to give their best, to encourage and instill confidence in them.

The most powerful vision is always described in terms of values and mission versus monetary.  It has the guiding principles behind your business ideas.  It is clear and concise and is no longer than a single short paragraph.  It will help you define your focus and set the stage for how your business will operate.

What does your ideal future look like for your life and for your company?  What is it like in 3 to 5 years?

What immediate action can you take to begin turning your future vision into reality?

Dec 162009

Let me do it later!

Each time when I asked people what are some of the things they would like to change in themselves, procrastination is probably ranked the highest.  Procrastination seems like a “bad” thing or behavior in perception of many.  Well, the good news is EVERYONE PROCRASTINATES! The trick is having a whole new perception towards procrastination.  Used intentionally and creatively, procrastination can be one of the most empowering techniques in personal effectiveness.

In fact, it can change your life!

You cannot possibly do everything that you have to do.  You need to procrastinate on something or the other, especially the small tasks.  The difference between the highly effective and the less effective people is largely determined by what they intentionally choose to procrastinate on.

However, most people procrastinate without thinking about it.  In other words, they are procrastinating unconsciously.  As a result of that, they push aside or delay big, important tasks that may have significant long-term effect in their lives, relationships and careers.  One must learn to intentionally procrastinate on tasks that are small and of low importance just so you have more time for things that can make the big difference in your life.

How do you do that?  Simple.  Set a list proper priorities.  A priority is something that you do more of and sooner.  You must also set a list of things you do less and later, if at all.   One of the most powerful words in managing your lists is NO!  Say it politely and clearly just so that it does not cause misunderstandings.  Practise using “no” as a normal part of setting your daily priorities.  For you to change and do something new, you must stop doing something old.

Review your life and work daily.  What are the time-consuming, small and less important tasks and activities that you can abandon.  For example, procrastinating television watching can allow you to spend more quality time with your family, read, exercise or do activities that can improve the quality of your life.  What about your work activities?  What are the tasks that you can delegate or eliminate so that you have more time to plan and do work that really matter.

Begin today to practise intentional procrastination.  You find that you will have more time for the more important things in life.  Set a list of things that you want to procrastinate wherever and whenever you can.  This action alone allows you to take control of your time and life.

What is one activity that you can abandon immediately or intentionally push aside until your more important goals are achieved?

Have a wonderful day procrastinating! 🙂