Having foresight and a long-term plan is worth its weight in gold. If we have plenty of time to do the tasks we need to get done we will perform them with greater success and higher quality since we are not stressed while doing them, and hence function and operate better and more efficiently. If there is plenty of time until deadline we will be able to find an optimal opportunity to perform the task. But if we are in a hurry, we are forced to do it immediately even if we are already tired from a full day’s work and would like nothing more than to go home.
Plus, it simply makes you feel good doing things well ahead of time.
A better alternative to the illusion on what we ”must” do
From time to time I hear someone tell me that “well, you know, I need to do things last-minute because I like feeling pressured”. I would say that it is probably so that a person who thinks along these lines believes that it has to be this way for them since it is how he or she usually gets things done. But, if it has not been experienced previously, the sweetness of having planned ahead, gotten foresight and hence being well ahead of time and deadlines must be experienced. Once we have had a taste of it, we will definitely want it again.
It would be easy to say “Have better foresight!” to each other, but how is it actually realized and attained?
Here are six ways which I use myself from time to time to get better foresight.
- Look through the coming days, weeks or months in your calendar systematically once a week. Get an overview of which deadlines are approaching and think about if you need to prioritize (or perhaps even schedule time in your calendar so that you for certain have time for) the completion of tasks which will bring you closer to meeting these deadlines.
- Create an overview of all your active and more extensive tasks (such as projects, change initiatives, processes you are in the middle of, and so on). Skim through this list a few times every month and take the opportunity to define a next step in the form of a to-do-task for each and every one of them. Set a due date for every task, schedule time in the calendar to do them in and/or split the tasks into smaller steps if they tend to get postponed due to how they are currently formulated.
- Take the opportunity to reflect and brainstorm freely as you are waiting in a telephone queue, as the fasten-seatbelt sign is lit or as you are waiting for a meeting to commence. Try to make note of all the things that now pop up in your mind which ”you mustn’t forget” such as to-do-tasks, and add them onto your to-do-list.
- If you keep your to-do-list in a digital format, set the starting-date for the task well ahead of the due date. If you have set the views correctly, the task will appear in your daily to-do-list well in advance of its due date.
- Create an ”annual cycle” to depict and illustrate the twelve months of the year and draw the most significant milestones, events and phases which will occur throughout the year onto the cycle. Add anything you will need to complete and do in order to attain these long-term goals onto your overview. Define the first step of each one of the more extensive tasks as a to-do-task and add it to your to-do-list. Set a due date if you feel it is necessary.
- Make it a habit of choosing a task from your to-do-list which is not due for a long time every day. Even if you still have plenty of time to complete it, it will feel wonderful knowing that it is already done later on when the deadline is fast approaching.
Feel great and perform better
If you use a trick to help yourself get better foresight (such as one of the ones mentioned above or perhaps something entirely different), you will continuously feel as if you are a step ahead rather than one behind. In terms of our general wellbeing (as well as our business’ wellbeing), this is crucial and makes a big difference.
What is your way?
These are some of my methods. What are yours? Please share in a comment below.