We live our lives caught amid almost unlimited past, present and future demands. Making decisions about how to use our limited time and energy often means choosing among those projects that feel most urgent, finishing long-postponed tasks or planning for future success; planning almost always gets put aside.

Those with ADD or an ADD style are more likely than most to find themselves involved in urgent projects that have been let go a little too long and if they are going to look toward the future, they often just glimpse discrete, cutting-edge projects that grab their attention and beg for implementation. Future planning to reduce crises and move projects ahead before they become urgent gets no attention.

Planning doesn’t have to be tough. It starts with a simple assessment of your needs for the next few weeks.

  • What would you like to have time for if you were going to function at your best?
  • Time to catch up on paperwork?
  • Time to review which projects need to get done soon?
  • Set-aside time to contact new prospects? Uninterrupted creative time?

Now you know what needs to happen, you only have to figure out when.

Which things need to happen every day? Every Week? Once a month? Get out your calendar and find a time to schedule the task. Your upcoming month will have the beginning of a plan.

Planning can start at both ends of the time line. What will things look like in one to three years? Or what does my next week need to contain? The best idea is to start simple and address a fuller picture as you get more comfortable. Discouraged just thinking about it? Try this…

  •  What would you like to work on this week?
  • What is a simple beginning action that you could take? 
  • What time could you schedule to do that action tomorrow? (15 minutes may be all you need.)
  •  Schedule a block of follow-up time for each day the rest of the week.
  •  When you finish tomorrow decide on the step or steps for the next day.

You’ve planned part of a week! Pick a project to schedule the following week. Of course there are any number of things that you would benefit from learning about planning and long-term strategies, but even week to week planning has boosted the productivity of many of my sales and executive coaching clients.

Jay Livingston

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