The Law of Planning: Every minute spent in planning saves ten minutes in execution.
The purpose of strategic planning in a corporation is to reorganize and restructure the activities and resources of the company so as to increase the “return on equity,” (ROE) or return on the money invested and working in the company.
The purpose of “personal strategic planning” is for you to increase your “return on energy,” (ROE) the return on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual capital you have invested in your life and career.
Every minute that you spend planning your goals, your activities and your time in advance, saves ten minutes of work in the execution of those plans. Therefore, careful advance planning gives you a return of ten times, or 1000%, on your investment of mental, emotional and physical energy.
It only takes about 10-12 minutes for you to make up a plan for your day. This investment of 10-12 minutes will save you 100-120 minutes in execution. This is an increase in productive time of approximately two hours per day, or a 25% increase in productivity and performance, in ROE, from the first day that you begin planning your day in advance.
The key to personal efficiency is for you to use a good time planner. Virtually any planner will work if you will discipline yourself to use it as the core of your time management system. Today, the Smart Phones and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), in combination with personal computers, can enable you to plan your time with greater efficiency than has ever been possible before.
Begin with a master list as the foundation of your time planning system. Write down everything that you can think of that you will need to do for the indefinite future. As new ideas, goals, tasks and responsibilities arise, write them down on your master list. Don’t trust to memory.
Plan each month in advance by transferring the appropriate items from your master list to your monthly list. This is best done the last week of each month.
Plan each week in advance by transferring items from your monthly list to your weekly list. This is best done the weekend before.
Plan each day in advance by transferring items from your weekly list to your daily list and by then adding anything else that needs to be done that day. This is best done the night before.
Plan every project, meeting and goal in detail, before you begin. The very act of planning forces you to think better and more accurately about everything you do. The more you think about and plan something, on paper, the faster and more efficiently you will accomplish it when you start work.
Regular planning assures that you spend more time on activities of higher value. This increases your effectiveness and your efficiency in everything you do. Perhaps the most important rule of all is for you to “Think on paper!”
Work from a list. Always write your tasks and activities down before you begin. Use this list as your blueprint.
How you can apply this law immediately:
1. Impose a sense of order on your life by making a detailed list of every single thing you have to do for the foreseeable future.
2. Analyze your list carefully and set clear priorities on the items before you begin. Never give in to the temptation to clear up small things first.
3. Discipline yourself to work only on those activities that have the most significant impact and influence on your life. Get them done quickly and well. Once you develop this habit of planning and prioritizing, your stress level will decline, your productivity will increase and your career will take off.
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