Not enough time…

How better planning helps to avoid blaming the deadline

March 21, 2019

I’m sure you’ve experienced this before. A project or deadline is quickly approaching and you think to yourself, if I only had more time, everything would be so much better.

It might be true. More time might allow you to achieve what you’re trying to do.

But patterns of feeling like there’s not enough time can lead to frustration, burn out, and inappropriate tension. Those are all things most of us try to avoid, but somehow always encounter.

Whether it’s a personal project, something for your job, or a task at home, there’s a solution to the “not enough time” problem: better planning.

We’re all familiar with the concept of planning, but just like any skill, you can learn how to plan better

One of the strategic principles I often spread is “We plan in advance so that ‘lack of time’ is never an issue.” This means we take the time to agree on the outcome, date, and process when it’s still possible to renegotiate and make changes. It’s easier and cheaper to change the plan early on. It’s often difficult and expensive to wait till the last minute (because we’re often forced to buy an easy solution or make significant compromises). 

Some steps toward better planning…

1. Define the win. What does success look like? What’s the criteria for making decisions? Does everyone on your team agree with this?

2. Mindsweep. What things come to mind right away for this project? What do you not know and need to find out? Who could you talk to? Review the “Project Planning Trigger List” PDF attached for ideas before you jump to the next step.

3. Organize. What is the sequence of events? What needs to happen to make the whole thing happen? What checklists do you need? What are key dates? (Tip: do not start here! Our natural tendency is to begin at step 3 instead of steps 1 and 2.) 

4. Delegate Authority. Who can you give authority away to make decisions and carry out the outcome? Remind them of what the win looks like.

5. Define Next Actions. Who has the next action? If two people do, no one does. 

6. Track “Waiting Fors.” Is there anything you’re waiting for? Keep a list somewhere handy to track people you are waiting on. Do they know you’re waiting for them?

Question to consider…  Are there any projects you’re working on now where you might need to renegotiate the commitment? 

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