How to become a planning ahead Ninja
Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. That is my guiding thought when I plan ahead myself. I do not want to be a burden to others just because I did not look far ahead enough into the future and populating my calendar. It is tough for me as I had not been used to do that for the longest time. Just think about your work place and how (I bet!) there is a lot of last minute activity in on your schedule. Business meetings – even large and important ones – are rarely scheduled more than hours or a few days ahead of time. How many times have you showed up for meetings and your meeting party forgot about the meeting or runs terrible late?
In our type of business we have mostly long term projects that typically run between 12 weeks and 12 months and when it is time to start up the equipment we get a call only a few days before the plant must be up and running. Instead of planning ahead at least 2-4 weeks this task is left to the last minute. Our teams may be pretty resilient and we make this crazy and largely unpredictable schedule work anyway, but this comes at a tremendous cost – trust goes down, and cost and time goes up.
All of this means that you can waste a lot of your time and money if you do not make the effort scheduling events quite a few weeks out. Scrambling around in the last minute is directly related to the time versus cost algorithm: The less time you have, the more it will cost. It is that simple.
There are of course ways to forego this sizable issue:
- Make good use of an electronic calendar. Preferably use something like Outlook, Google/Droid, or the iPhone platforms that synchronize your home AND business calendars no matter where you are. Here is the Apple platform and this is Google’s.
- A sub set of 1. is getting a smart phone or at least an electronic organizer. Yes, setting it up can be tough, but look at it this way: It may take a few hours to get it working right, but you will be saving and using this for days and weeks to come. It is worth the effort.
- If going with electronics is not your cup of tea, well get yourself a calendar for home (hand it up where everybody can see it), one for work and one for your pocket that you carry with you at all times.
- Actually look at your calendar DAILY. Pick a time and make it a routine check. Do it at the end of the day and look at tomorrow’s appointments. Then check the rest of the week and of course 4 weeks out.
- Become a fan of good housekeeping. Keep your schedule clean of any out of date information. Nothing is worse than people not being able to trust your calendar. Trust is another time and money waster you do not want as your enemy.
Good luck with planning ahead and saving yourself time, frustration, nerves, and ultimately some money.