If success is a planned event, then why do so few people plan for it?
We all know that waiting by the phone, pacing the hallway, compulsively checking our email or reorganizing the junk drawer for the tenth time isn't going to magically bring success into our lives. And yet we sometimes find ourselves putting too much stock into low priority, low impact activities.
Many of us don't have an intentional plan to act upon. The trick isn't in how good of a plan you have; the trick is just in having a plan. When you act out your goals on a daily basis, even if everything doesn't go exactly how you hoped it would, you can have peace knowing that you actually took a step toward a better tomorrow. It will boost your self-image too.
If you want success in your life, you have to start planning for it. Here are some ideas you can use to coordinate your daily schedule.
Organize Your Schedule Weekly
Find an hour or two in your schedule to plan out your entire week. Use whatever tool suits you best: a paper agenda, or desktop applications like Google Calendar and iCal. Set mobile reminders if you prefer. Block off (color coded) time slots in your schedule. Be as detailed as possible. Mark down when you're going to be at work, when you'll be having lunch, when you'll be exercising, and even when you plan to have free time or downtime too.
If you're particularly diligent, you can also take some time at the end or the beginning of each month to map out your next 30 days. Very few people actually plan out their day let alone their week, and even fewer take the time to arrange their next month.
Follow Your Plan
A well thought-out plan won't do you much good if you don't actually follow it. You'll have to become particularly vigilant about living out your schedule if you want to generate worthwhile results from your effort.
At times you may find it necessary to makes some changes in your schedule, and that's fine. However, don't let trivial things throw you off course.
You have to determine what you want to accomplish, and then work backwards and break it down into smaller action steps that you can take on a daily basis. Your goals should be one of the primary determining factors as to how you run your life.
God, family, country, work and entrepreneurship are my priorities in order of importance. When I say that my family is important, I don't mean leisure time with my family, I mean creating a legacy for my family. My goals reflect that fact.
In short, define what your values are. Your priorities should reflect your values.
In order to prioritize, you may have to become more organized than you already are. Or, you may consider blocking off time for organization in your schedule.
Distractions of any kind can take up mind space that could be better invested elsewhere. Whether it's a cluttered room, a dirty house, unopened mail, documents that need to be filed, there are a variety of things that could get in the way of productivity and efficiency.
When you're organized, you will have less trouble finding the documents you need, you won't be late for appointments, and you won't forget something important on the way out. You'll be able to keep on-task, and on schedule.
Jeff Olson, author of The Slight Edge notes that the plan you start with isn't usually the plan that will get you to where you want to go. Does that defeat the necessity for a plan? No, not at all.
All that means is that you will have to revise, edit and iterate your plan on your path to success. No one gets it right the first time. As your self-image increases, as you acquire more experience and knowledge, as you become more efficient and effective, you will also begin to figure out what actions in your life produce the most worthwhile results. Then you can place those activities above others that aren't as valuable.