By Thomas E. Anderson, II
Making sure that your current activities line up with your future goals is crucial to realizing your dreams. I am not an expert in planning, but I’m pretty proficient at setting priorities that align with my vision for building Teaiiano. Former employees who launched out in business for themselves may agree that scheduling your day is easier when executives determine the big picture and management sets your goals. But when you are the chief cook and bottle washer, priorities can challenge you.
Picture this…Eddy Entrepreneur gets fed up on his full-time job and pull thousands of dollars out of his 401(k) to start his own business doing what he loves. He will lease an office, purchase state-of-the-art computers and hire several staff members – only to realize 3 years down the road that these items were not a priority for his startup business. Many small businesses like Eddy’s end up joining the 9 out of 10 businesses that fail during their first five years.
Most business ventures bite the dust due to poor planning and lack of priorities. A huge corner office filled with state-of-the-art technology may be important to Mr. Entrepreneur because that’s what he’s used to using. But there are less expensive alternatives that would allow him to invest his money in items that bring more of an immediate return. To do this, Eddy has to separate urgent matters (those requiring immediate action) from important matters (those that bring the greatest result and return on his time and/or money.) Stephen Covey goes more in depth on this subject in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
I started using the FranklinCovey Planning System to figure out which parts of my vision were most urgent and important. Before I started using the planning system, I used to write my ideas and schedule my day using random methods. At any given time, my desk looked like it was about to take flight because I had littered it with 20-30 Post It Notes. When ideas hit me, I would write them in notebooks, on envelopes and even on napkins (hey – paper is paper, right?) But when I needed those ideas 6 weeks down the road, they were nowhere to be found.
The FrankinCovey Planning System solves this problem. It has a task list, daily schedule and plenty of writing space for crazy ideas or anything else that may be running through my head. Franklin Covey’s planning system has helped me to:
- Set top priorities for each day
- Track what I do on a daily basis and turn it into a business system
- Manage projects, set goals and keep track of client/customer relationships.
- Find my ideas when I need them most
For me, it’s more than a planner. I use the FranklinCovey Planning System to scrapbook my vision and organize my life. I’ve even customized the planner, making inserts of my own.
It’s up to you to set top priorities for your day, giving the attention to activities that are both urgent and important. You’ll find that if you fail to prioritize your resources (time, money, and human contribution) someone else will. If you find yourself adding more tasks than you actually check off of your To-Do List, check out the FranklinCovey Planning System. It’s a visionary entrepreneur’s dream come true.
Thomas E. Anderson, II is a musician and consultant who has enjoyed self-employment since age 10. No stranger to paradigm shifts, he overcame the stigma of childhood obesity and the death of his mother at 17. My Future in Focus has become Thomas’ motto for facing life’s challenges. For more information on his services, click here to visit his coaching site.
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