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3 tips to make planning simple

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Ben Brown
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What does planning really mean?

Planning work is an art form. There are many ways you can plan work, and everyone's process is different depending on the work you are planning, but the goal always remains the same. When we are planning work, we are ultimately looking to lay out a road map of the most efficient way to achieve our goal.

Whether we create a new marketing campaign or build a complex construction phase of work. We are simply looking to achieve goals, but are you planning efficiently and setting up for the best results?

Implement a simple process

Over the past few years, I’ve worked with thousands of businesses across a vast range of industries. I always find it fascinating to understand people's processes for planning. I’ve seen people planning months in advance or sometimes minutes in advance. I’ve seen people using emails and WhatsApp as their project managers. You name it, I’ve probably seen it, and regardless of the platform being used, there is usually one key mistake being made. People often miss applying a measurable element within the work they’re planning. What does this mean? Well, let’s take a look.

We live in a social media world where ‘memes’ actually impact the way people live their lives. Unfortunately, a common saying I see is ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’, so people fall into thinking that even a half-arsed attempt at planning will mean they succeed. I’m afraid to say that this is unfortunately not the case. A plan doesn't need to be a super complex Gantt chart linked to an excel document with thousands of commands. Instead, you need to be able to measure the work you or others are going to be completing to determine whether you can track and complete it successfully.

This boils down to 3 simple bits of information you need to know.

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1. What needs doing?

What needs doing is really simple. First, we need the title of the project or the task you’re completing and a description of the work. The best way to do this is to think about it as if you’re the person completing the work reading instructions. What would you want to know to get the task done fastest?

For example:
Title: Create a blog article about planning
Description: This article needs to be a short read. Something that explains the key elements to plan work successfully. Aim for around 1,000 words max. We don’t want to bore people. Make sure to include What, when and who.

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2. When does it need doing?

This one is essential. We see so many managers barking orders at the last minute when tasks need to be completed. This creates a reactive workflow and builds negative energy in the workplace.

Be sure to assign dates for when the task needs completing and, if possible, times. Wouldn’t you like to look at a schedule of what you are working on this week? So would the people you work with.

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3. Who will do it?

And finally, it’s important to know who is responsible for completing the work. A process only works if you have the right people completing the tasks they’re good at. So make sure you know exactly who is responsible for completing the work.

Incorporating these three elements into your planning process can guarantee positive progress. In addition, you will be implementing a proactive process that is measurable.

For example:

  • If work is not complete, you know who to ask.
  • If you think work is late, you can check when it was meant to be complete
  • If a task was not completed to the correct standard, you could check the spec

The above example is not a vehicle for blaming people when things go wrong, and it is a way for you to build and be better. If a mistake is made, you can learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again in the future.

I hope this article helps you with your planning for the future. I would recommend taking a look at using Taskbox to help plan your work. We have loads of exciting features that help you plan faster and in a way that works for you.

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