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Managing your Plan


We are working through a series of weekly thoughts based around change and around “getting things done” in order to support this change. We are calling this Big skies, Big vision and this is week 8: “Managing your plan”

If you have been following the series, you will now have your vision. You have also broken this vision down into more manageable categories in which to place your activities and for each of these categories you have an exhaustive list of activities. You have also now reduced this exhaustive list down in size to the essential “must haves”, you have now sequenced these activities and finally you have developed and documented your plan.

Now we need to manage this plan and we will take you through a few pointers and “best practices” to help you do this:

Plan the plan

You will need to spend time on a regular basis updating and adjusting your plan. Your priorities will change over time and you need to stay on top of these changes and reflect them in your detailed daily/weekly plans. In order to do this we suggest you plan time for this work. Set aside a couple of hours to step back from the “doing”, chose a time and place which will be conducive to quite reflection and update/amend the plan.

Eat the frog

Mark Twain said if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. Your frog is your worst task, and you should do it first thing in the morning. Don’t put these off .. get on with them as soon as you can. They will usually feel larger than they actually are and will take less time to complete than you think.

Keep your task lists small and realistic

Don’t find yourself writing long lists for your day. Keep them short and complete them. If you set just 3 tasks a day and work 5 days a week this means you complete 15 actions a week – that’s 60 a month. That’s a lot of tasks and if these have been prioritised correctly then you quickly start completing an awful lot of actions moving you ever closer you towards your vision. This also helps motivate you and this in turn will help you complete more tasks.

Keep your discipline and maintain pace

It’s easy to go full out on one day, wake early and work through to the following evening but what then happens the next day? Better to do 5 days of reasonable length and focus and kep tyis up for weeks and months. Set regular times and regular activities to create a habit. This habit will then maintain your discipline and if as above your tasks are limited for a particular day you will find over time you continue to complete your actions at pace.

Bright & shiny things

Keep asking yourself if what you are doing is a high priority and taking you forward or is it a “bright shiny” distraction? Are you doing something for the sake of it and/or because it feels good? If it does feel good then we are not saying don’t do it. But be aware what it is and where your time is being spent. This is why we prioritise and plan. If it isn’t a priority and it is not on your plan ask yourself why you are doing it? Technician, manager, entrepreneur

Be aware that you have multiple roles in your position of small business owner – the technician, the manager and the entrepreneur. Your time needs to focus on all three, not necessarily equally share and all three will need to be your top priority at some point in time. Since you probably started as a technician it is easy to fall back into this role particularly when times get tough or busy. Be aware that this is happening and once again go back to your plan and ensure you have the tasks in there to maintain the management and entrepreneurial tasks. Another way to do this is to have part of day or week dedicated to management tasks and ring fenced periods – maybe every quarter – to be the entrepreneur. For the latter and if needed take yourself away to somewhere that works for a short whole and you’ll be amazed how creative you can be. Another way to help here is to simply get help for certain tasks and we’ll cover this next week.

You have now created your plan and have some pointers to follow which will help you organise yourself and complete your actions thereby moving you through your plan and towards your vision. Next week we will discuss “Help and hinderance” – where to go to for help and what to watch out for from those who may get in your way.

Good luck with this and see you next week. In the meantime, and as ever if you have questions please drop us a line.

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