Break projects into realistic tasks with manageable deadlines.
They establish steps that will lead them toward the completion of complicated projects, generate realistic deadlines for the completion of these steps, and work to meet these deadlines. They give themselves “false due dates” to keep themselves accountable for progression towards the completion of a project. Effective planners also write their tasks down and cross off activities once they are finished to give themselves a sense of continual accomplishment.
Operate in two time horizons.
They utilize an assortment of short- and long-term planning aids, using both calendars and action lists to plot out activities according to due dates. They have daily objectives to move them toward the completion of multiple tasks, and they continually review long-term goals so they don’t “lose sight of the forest for the trees.”
Begin projects early.
They give themselves the time and freedom to brainstorm about the best alternatives to accomplish their objectives. Starting early on an assignment gives people the opportunity to gather information, ruminate over the matter, collaborate with others for assistance, and modify plans for convenience or effectiveness. Good planners are honest with themselves about how their plans are going, and they are willing to modify plans for better results.
Seek advice from others.
Effective planners eagerly accept input from anyone in a position to assist them or offer them information. They will review other’s materials, converse and correspond with expert sources, and consider others’ ideas as they chart out a course of action.
Delegate whenever possible.
Even the most energetic people can’t do everything themselves! Knowing this, effective planners delegate tasks to those people they can trust to get things done, and they monitor the activity without micro management. If you’re going to waste time micro managing, you may as perform the activity yourself and not insult a colleague or subordinate! Effective planners also inform all people involved as much in advance as possible about any role they may have in the activity to allow them time to plan ahead as well.
Remain flexible and persistent.
Effective planners always anticipate obstacles, and so have a backup plan, or “plan B.” They are proactive rather than reactive, and thus can shift to other plans to ensure that the overall goal is accomplished. They remain persistent in the face of adversity by considering other avenues of approach when encountering barriers. They “Never say ‘Die.'”
Realize that “no” is sometimes the appropriate response to a request.
If they have any uncertainty about whether or not they can fulfill another person’s request, an effective planner has the ability to say, “I will get back to you on that. Let me think about it overnight,” or “No, I’m sorry, I cannot do that.” However, it’s possible that effective planners can still be of assistance by providing direction or offering alternatives to the person seeking help.