Match Your Tools to Your Goals

There are many organizing techniques and tools out there to help you reach your goals. The trick is to match the right ones to your particular goals. Why is this so important? It’s not as simple as it sounds. It’s possible to organize the wrong plan by mistake. In fact, you might even “over manage” what you’re doing without even knowing it at first. Let’s say you’ve fallen in love with an elaborately organized and detailed plan you created that manages practically everything you do throughout the day. At first glance, it looks great. When you review what you’ve done at the end of the day, you realize you don’t seem to be making any headway or progress toward achieving your goals in spite of checking every single detail in you plan.


Now you’re puzzled and maybe even depressed. You believe you had the right plan, and you tried hard to do all the right things. You feel lost. I’ll give you an A for effort because of your attitude. That’s about it though. What’s really happening is you’ve probably organized such a detailed plan that, instead of helping your productivity, it actually gets in the way of it. Let me explain. You find yourself practically handcuffed by your plan because you won’t make a move without noting every little thing you do. The result is you’re actually “stealing” the very time you need to get ahead. The reality is you’re tracking your failure.

What you’ve done is design a fancy noose to fit around your neck. If you organize something too complicated, you will surely hang from it. That’s not planning for success, that’s DOCUMENTING YOUR DOOM. There’s a happy middle ground between perfection and thinking smart—keep things practical and simple. You don’t work for your organization plan. It works for YOU.

There’s really only one important purpose behind a well organized plan, and that is to keep you on track to achieve your objectives. That’s really all you want it to do. Don’t fall into the trap of using it as a crutch. Use it as a pole vault! Start with the main things you want to achieve, like the number of customers you want to contact or the number of products you want to sell or service. Perhaps it’s the number of patients you will see, or the number of students you will counsel. You decide what that is.

I always planned to contact a minimum of at least 20 people every day about buying a new vehicle. There were many days when that number was two or even three times that depending on the weather or what else I had scheduled. And it paid off. In my best year, I was closing a record average of six sales a day!

Once you’ve determined your goal, go into laying the groundwork for how you’re going to achieve it and the amount of time it will require. Here’s how I did it:

From experience, I knew how much time I needed to make an effective phone call. I could easily get what I needed to know about a prospect in 10 minutes because I had a list in front of me of the top six things that were important. I knew how to politely take control of the conversation and keep things on track including overcoming the typical objections. If the call took longer, it was usually a good sign that the prospect was more engaged and wanted more information. I also knew that once a customer came in to actually purchase a vehicle, I could accomplish this in less than an hour. I had everything lined up: the paperwork, the accounting department, and of course the vehicle—checked out, polished, and ready to go.

Don’t be disappointed if at first you don’t hit every target. Over time, you’ll become more experienced and smarter as you begin to organize more accurate and realistic plans. Success comes faster to those who plan for it. Whatever techniques you use, remember that they are tools. YOU control how they’re used. Make them work for you.