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? 

Recent blog posts

Did you get my message?

Dealing with people who don’t reply is frustrating. However, when we ask “did you get my message?” it turns out we have a trust

Resistance to a next action

Sometimes we experience resistance when we look at our options for work (next actions). The next action item on the to do list

You don’t need a new computer

You think you need a new computer. You don’t. The work you’ve been called to do can be accomplished with everything you already

Distraction-Free iPhone

Learn how to customize your iPhone or smartphone to avoid distraction and endless scrolling.

A look at the Time Timer

3 minute video on how to visually see time pass. This method is used by CEOs and high-performance teams.

Intro to Pocket Notebooks

The world of notebooks is full of endless possibilities, but today, we will take a look at the trusty and practical pocket notebook.

Best Mac Apps – May 2020

I love the Mac and great apps. While researching and testing them can become a distraction, finding the best tools on the market

Before-we-start agreements

It can be so easy to jump in to a task, a job, or project. However, this can create issues. Have you ever

Direct statements

Listen to this (3½  minutes)   We all have things we wish we could come right out and say, but often don’t for

There will always be opposition

  Have you ever encountered someone who doesn’t agree with your point of view or see things the same way you do? I’m

Decide to focus

  • You must make a choice to focus your attention on something specific.
  • If you don’t choose to focus, someone else will — or you will be driven by the what’s current and catastrophes.
  • The best leaders and thinkers are disciplined about focusing daily.

Influence and impact

One thing you can keep in mind each day is that you have influence and impact as an individual person. It can be common to

Asking “how might we” questions

A powerful tool to help your leadership is to ask great questions. Yes, there is such a thing as a bad question. In school, teachers

Are you on the list?

I send periodic email updates for high-achievers who want to grow.