Even Planners Need to do Planning

From the I wish I had me when I was you... Blog
"I wish I had me when I was you..." That expresses precisely how I feel each time a project manager or PMO leader tells me a story about their frustrations encountered while trying to create effective and sustainable change, build (or fix) a PMO, or deliver projects successfully. I always think to myself…I wish I knew then what I know now. I’ve made it my mission to share with you everything that I have learned while creating change and building PMOs in both large and small organizations for the last 24 years, many of those years as an employee in the "hot seat" responsible for building internal capability. I’m hoping these articles help you along your journey as you continue to evolve and develop skills and techniques to be the high-IMPACT leader you are meant to be. Learn more at ImpactbyLaura.com

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As project management types, many of us are so busy helping others with their planning and project activities that we forget to take time to do our own planning. I liken us to the plumber with the leaky faucet. Whether it’s planning the next step in your career or planning the next quarter, we need to take time to plan out our roadmap. We must be prepared to take our own medicine. It’s good for us, after all.

I’m taking my own medicine and beginning my process of planning the next year. Starting in quarterly chunks of planning. This helps to figure out what I can get accomplished. I always have more ideas than I possibly have capacity to complete. There are so many new projects I want to explore, new ways to deliver value, things I want to try.

Are you like me with a to do list that never quite gets to empty?

As I prepared for some time out of the office, I kept working furiously to get things knocked off my list. I got A LOT done, but as I worked, I found more things that I wanted to add to my list! It’s crazy, I know. The list just gets longer no matter how many things I check off! I have projects coming out of my ears and I know that I won’t be able to get them all done.

It’s healthy (at least I think so) to keep that list of ideas coming in, things you want to accomplish, goals that you are setting out for yourself. The creative energy is good for us. And it’s important to jot down the ideas we have when we have them instead of discarding the idea or possible new project.

So what do I do? I prioritize!

I am always looking at the order things need to be done in. What’s urgent? What’s important?

Urgent vs. important

It’s crucial to find the balance between urgent and important. So often, we spend so much time on the urgent that we never get to the important. For example, you have urgent client needs that must be addressed, but once you’ve taken care of all the needs of your clients, you have no time left for the important things like planning for the future.

As a business owner, I like to remember something my coach always says, “You cannot only work in the business. You must work on the business if you are going to be successful in the long term.”

The same applies to you, whether you run a division, a company or a project. We must make time to work “on the business” we are managing, as well as in it. This means taking time to step back, figure out where we are going and what big things we want to accomplish, then plan out our roadmap for getting there.

This takes planning for the future. Yeah, we gotta actually do some planning.

Take a few minutes to think about your big goals for the next year. What will bring you the most happiness? What will give you the greatest sense of accomplishment? How can you drive high-IMPACT?

Then, put a plan together and manage your big goals like you would any other project. Yes, this means actually writing it down. It’s only a dream until you make it a plan. Once you make it a plan, we know how to handle and execute a plan, right?

OK, now go Get. It. Done!

Thanks for taking the time to read this article.

I welcome your feedback and insights. Please leave a comment below.

See you online!


Posted on: January 08, 2018 07:59 AM | Permalink

Comments (12)

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Many entrepreneurs are stuck at the dream stage.

Writing it down is a great idea. Many a times you make plans on accomplishing something and than it fades out of your memory timetable as more ideas takes its place but something written keeps bugging you, that this is something to be done.
Thank you Laura for a nice article.

I echo Sante - This dream stage could be dangerous sometimes.

One of the best books I have ever read is the E-Myth, which should be essential reading for all beginning entrepreneurs. I have met many small business people who started their own business because it was something they loved. Unfortunately wood workers, bakers, painters etc. do not (usually) love accounting, marketing and other un-related activities. The E-Myth suggests approaching each duty like it is done by someone else and document it with processes and procedures. This allows the eventual hiring of those people, freeing the entrepreneur to do what they love and excel. Otherwise, the danger of slowly being buried and distracted will lead to the end of the business. I have witnessed this first-hand on too many occasions.

Thank you for sharing. The problem with this article, in my humble opinion, is about basic terms used: "urgent", "important", are subjective matters. What is "urgent" or "important" for me are not the same for you or other people. Unfortunatelly lot of people have earned lot of many performing workshops and training about this fact without say to people or train people about the basement: the human factor. Obviously, if they train people on that the business ends.

Hey, Sergio! Yes, urgent and important mean different things to different people, but that's why context is always helpful. When YOU are doing YOUR planning process, YOU would want to make that list of urgent vs. important to accomplish YOUR goals.

What is important or urgent for me is not relevant to YOU figuring out what is urgent or important for YOU as you develop your plan. The key is to understanding who DOES matter in your process of planning. I would suggest that what your boss or a client thinks is urgent and important would be relevant to your process and must be balanced with your own plans to ensure that you meet your ultimate goals.

Hope that helps!

Yes, Sante! Fortunately, there are folks like us that are good at helping people to Get. It. Done. :)

Thanks, Najam! Yes, sometimes the simple things, like writing it down, can make all the difference between an idea and that idea being a reality. :)

Thanks, Ken! Glad you mentioned that book! Such a good read to help entrepreneurs avoid the "one-person show" approach that so many fall prey to in their early businesses building years. I'm a big believer in doing the stuff you love and outsourcing the rest. That's what makes it fun to be an entrepreneur! Changing lives while having fun.

There's a Kanban quote that probably fits here: "Stop starting and start finishing"!

Suleander that is a great quote to remember.

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