I don’t know of any successful planner who doesn’t first start by writing things down. A to-do list is a great place to begin. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t write things down or never kept a diary or planner, you’re not alone. It’s true there are some jobs that don’t require detailed diaries. However, there are lots of people out there who don’t use planners who should. Those people are usually easy to find. Many of them are in the unemployment lines.
Whenever I’m on tour giving a motivational presentation, I always emphasize the importance of organized planning. I recently got back from a series of lectures in China, and I could see several people in the audience taking feverish notes when I got on that topic. Everyone is looking for an edge-anything that can give them a slight advantage on competition. I often get letters or see people in audiences a year later who thank me for the advice as they tell me how it has helped them. Having an organized plan is a must for efficient use of time. And that’s one of the major keys to success—how you use your time.
Let me give you an example of how I went about managing my time. In the evening when I got home, and after spending some quality time with my family, I would set aside some quiet time to analyze what I did earlier that day. I would meditate on everything I did from the moment I came in until I turned of the light in my office to go home. I was looking for anything that could improve my productivity and better utilize my time. I would ask myself:
“What did I do that really helped today?”
“What did I do that got in the way?”
“Could I save time by doing this instead of that?”
Once I got into the habit of reviewing my day in detail, my awareness and productivity soared to new heights. I was perfecting my approach, getting better and better, stronger and stronger, each and every day. Finally I ended my end-of-the-day analysis by charting my course for the next day just like the captain of a ship. I knew where and how I was going before I ever “set sail” in the morning. When I talk about organized planning, I’m talking about organizing for success. I had a plan and nothing got in the way of my working that plan every day. Effective use of time is critical to achieve your goals. That was my routine and I was in control. If I had a good day, then I would pat myself on the back. “I’m proud of you, Joey,” I would say to myself. Then I’d thank the Lord, kiss my lovely wife good night, and call it a day.
Photo Credit: Alastair Humphreys