Strategy x scheduling

Sunday night you sit down and plan your whole week. You put the big rocks in first – the most important but not urgent long term thinking time. Maybe, you schedule 2  2-hour blocks on Tuesday and Thursday at your best thinking times for that long range project you never seem to get to. Then Monday starts off with client issues and you don’t get one thing done you had scheduled for Monday. Monday’s schedule spills into Tuesday and you scratch that thinking long range time on Tuesday with some of the urgent projects …..

Well, isn’t that life? You still have the rest of the week to catch up, don’t you?  Maybe you do spend that 2 hour block on strategy on Thursday, and that is the best you get for the week. Usually, it is Sunday night when you are able to focus again on getting some strategic time on the calendar. You beat yourself up a little for not making it work last week and try again.

I have a few suggestions:

  1. Treat your strategic time like an appointment with your best client – you wouldn’t blow that off. Who is more important, you and your long term success or that urgent matter that maybe you should have delegated anyway?
  2. Take a longer time horizon for strategy or long term planning. Plan longer blocks with more safeguards around the time. Maybe every 2 weeks, for 1/2 day, you work from home. You have a specific agenda ready and you turn off your phone, calendar reminders etc.
  3. Get the whole leadership team to take the same time. I’ve seen whole departments adopt one hour each day that is quiet uninterrupted time. They don’t answer anything or talk to each other and there is a sign on the door into the department warning everyone away. It didn’t take long before the whole company left them alone from 11-12.

Be creative but be committed. Your anxiety will go down and your success rate will go up. Win-win.