How to sharpen your axe

The Power of Planning

Abraham Lincoln is quoted to have said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” What has that got to do with you and the success of your business?

You are more likely to achieve your goals and ambitions if you take the time to plan the steps you need to follow in order for you to succeed.

Most people, who run a business, produce a business plan at the start. The plan helps to establish the right steps for the new business including what you need to do, what resources will be required and what you expect to happen. It may also be used when seeking investment or for backing up business loan application too.

Quite often, the business plan is quickly forgotten once the business has started. Some business owners will only review the plan if they are asked to by their bank manager etc. Others make business planning an annual event. The most effective business plan is one that is reviewed frequently and consistently to assess progress of business goals and targets and to set new ones.

Effective planning gives you the power to craft your own future, at least to some degree, rather than just reacting to external events. It keeps you organised and in control, as you always know the next step you need to take to achieve your goals. It stops you from spending too much time deciding what to do next or taking too many unnecessary, unfocused and ineffective steps.

Daily planning is an amazingly effective way to achieve both your own goals and the goals of the business. Spending between 20 and 30 minutes a day to plan the day ahead, will focus you on your business goals, energize you for the day ahead and stop allowing time to be wasted.  You will give yourself the chance to:

  • review your progress on the specific business goals you've set;
  • set your daily agenda;
  • prioritize your tasks of the day.

Top 3 Planning Tips

1. Do not allow yourself to be interrupted by anyone

  • Turn off your emails and mobile phone
  • Divert your phone to your answer phone
  • Work in a space where you will not get interrupted or distracted by anyone else

2. Plan your most demanding tasks into your most productive time of day

  • Highlight the top three or four imperative tasks for the day
  • Plan to do them in the most productive part of your day

3. Don’t judge yourself on your performance of your daily agenda

  • If you don’t get all the tasks that you’ve got on your list done, that doesn’t mean you have failed. It just means you didn’t get everything on your list done.
  • Transfer whatever is left on your list to the top of the list for the next day.

Mark Twain hit it on the head when he said, "The Secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable ones??" then starting on the first one."

So, start planning today! Good luck! 
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