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Smart Work by Dermot Crowley

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8 MAKE TIME TO PLAN

I have found that driving a modern car with built-in sat nav has made me lose my sense of perspective and direction. I get from one place to another by monitoring a screen that shows me the next few hundred metres of the journey, which means my eyes are glued either to the road in front of me or to this tiny screen. Our map books of old were not as functional as a sat nav device, but they did give you a sense of perspective — of where things sat in a wider context.

I think the same is true of our work. We spend our days going from one meeting to another, and in between we are mesmerised by our small screens and incoming emails. It is easy to lose our sense of perspective and of what we are trying to achieve.

Taking time out to plan helps you regain that perspective. Whether you are setting your goals for the year, reviewing progress for the quarter, setting your monthly priorities or planning your week, you are reconnecting with where you are trying to go and how you mean to get there.

Build planning time into your schedule

Make time for personal planning.

Planning increases the quality and quantity of what we get done. Yet when we are busy it is very easy to skip planning and just get stuck into ‘doing’. As we know, we need discipline to focus on what we know we should do, even when we might not feel like doing it.

Top athletes have this mindset. They make time to train, and they create detailed plans to achieve their short-, medium- and long-term goals. ...

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