I have noticed that there is one thing that seems to always help eliminate mistakes. Often times, people will work so hard and get so busy, that inevitably, they fall behind. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I’m just behind at work” or “Things are just so busy at work?” Chances are, you have not only heard someone say it, but you have even said it yourself. And the worst part about being behind is that it seems to magnify the amount of mistakes that are made.
More typos, more misprints, more late arrivals to meetings, more double bookings on the calendar, and more late nights trying to crank out work for a deadline…
So how do we guard ourselves and our organizations from making these mistakes so frequently? I believe there is one thing we can do that will help eliminate mistakes.
That’s it? That is the insightful tip I read this article to gain?
Strategic planning is so fundamental that often times we fail to do it.
Just like in basketball. I was just watching the final four this past weekend, and Oregon lost a game at the last second not because of the opponent hitting a great buzzer beater…but because they failed to do something fundamental. They did not block out.
It has been said often, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I believe the majority of mistakes that we make come because we overlooked the fundamental principle of planning.
So how do you strategically plan?
It looks different for each organization and person because there are different goals, expectations, and personalities. But here are a few ideas to help you strategically plan to avoid mistakes:
Schedule effective meetings.
Don’t busy your schedule with unproductive and ineffective meetings, but make time to have constant effective meetings. If you are wondering why an effective meeting looks like, read Effective Meetings | 4 Practices to Increase Productivity
Say NO to last minute projects.
If you are constantly trying to implement within a week, or always adding last minute ideas to a project, you are not strategically planning. Strategic planning requires you to be thinking more than one day, or even one week, at a time. Of course, there is always a last minute, unplanned task that will pop up, and you want to have a can do spirit. But if you are looking to eliminate mistakes, then you have to say NO…even to those last minute, week-of-the-deadline ideas.
Use a calendar.
If you don’t use a calendar to organize your time, meetings, and to-dos, you will constantly feel behind. I get that some people like to free flow in their work, and some companies are more geared towards this style, but with every deadline comes a timeline.
Reprioritize yourself weekly (or daily).
This takes mental training. You are wired to always do what is most important to you. Unfortunately what is most important to you, is not always what is most important. Each week, or sometimes each day, you need to revisit your to-do list, calendar, passions, and expectations. It is a balance to figure out when to do what thing, without feeling pressure or guilt about the other things. Another helpful suggestion is to find someone who can help you prioritize. It is not wrong, especially if you are weak in this area, to ask for some help or clarity. Questions like, “Which task is more important for today?” or “What thing is okay if I don’t get to it this week?”
These are just a few things that might help you.
What other things have helped you strategically plan and make less mistakes?