Peace is in the Plan

One of the fundamental things which helps us, as human beings, put one foot in front of the other is the knowledge that there IS a way forward and we ARE capable of walking the path to get there.  In other words, having a plan.  During times like this, it can feel like it is impossible to plan with ever changing priorities and marching orders; however, there IS a way to do it!  Planning our approach to how we handle our current circumstances and the decision process we use to choose our way forward IS possible.  It just takes a little bit of writing, thought, and organization.  Three (3) easy ways we can reduce burnout through planning are listed below.

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  1. Writing it Down – It may sound simple, but it works!  Writing things down creates clarity by naturally engaging a process to digest all of the information we have swirling around in our brains, and, it brings tangibility to the foundations of a plan for us.  While we are certainly capable of thinking things through and processing information through thoughts only, writing them out goes far beyond keeping them inside.  Five key advantages of writing it down are: 1) we remember our thoughts as they’re now out on paper; 2) we save ourselves time later by having them written down instead of spending time trying to recall them in the moment; 3) it is easier to organize our thoughts when we visibly see them versus trying to run through them using our memory; 4) we are more easily able to clearly and concisely expressing our thoughts; and 5) it is a lot easier to bring finality to the “rough draft” of our thoughts which typically exist in our heads.  Writing things down WILL reduce our burnout through the peace which comes from the greater clarity, certainty, and understanding of having the foundations of a plan.

    What method of writing it down works best for you, i.e., paper, computer, or whiteboard?
  1. What Factors Do I Need to Consider? – Right now, many of us are faced with ever changing priorities and an overloaded plate of tasks we are being asked to complete.  The result of this is conflict.  Conflict of priorities, conflict of what to delegate to our teams or take on ourselves, and conflict of quantity versus quality as there is only so much time in the day.  In times like this, it is hard to see the worth in taking a moment to think versus working on a task we have to complete; however, taking the time to think through (and write down) what we need to consider WILL reduce our burnout in the long run.  A key part of this is the question “What factors do I need to consider?”  Knowing what goes into making our decisions WILL create a path forward for us and a natural sense of peace knowing we HAVE a plan in place to make our decisions.  Several common factors which help us make a decision are: 1) what is the deadline for a task; 2) is the deadline artificial or mandated by law or policy; 3) who is responsible for a task; 4) what needs to happen before a task can be completed, e.g., does June need to complete a task and give it to George who then gives their task to Mike to complete this one; 5) what other tasks does a task feed into; 6) how long does it take to complete a task; and 7) how does a task align with our personal, team’s, and organization’s goals.  Knowing what factors we need to consider WILL reduce our burnout through the peace which comes from having a plan of action around how to make our decisions and proceed forward.

    What are the factors that go into your decision making and address the tasks on your plate?
  1. Organization Through Prioritization – Writing things down and knowing the factors that we need to consider are only two parts of the puzzle.  The third piece of the puzzle is how we prioritize our tasks at hand.  Once we know this, we WILL reduce our burnout as we have an organized plan forward of how to proceed in the most time-efficient manner possible.  One of the most common ways we prioritize tasks today is through deadlines; however, as we see above, there are many other factors which come into play.  Once we understand these factors, it is a lot easier to prioritize what tasks need to be done first before others, when they need to be completed, and who is to complete them.  This prioritization naturally creates a sense of order for us which DOES reduce our burnout through the peace of mind of how to properly move forward.  Having a list we can continually add to, adjust, sort through, mark off completed tasks, and constantly refer to, whether it’s a whiteboard, spread sheet, or project management tool, will create peace through having an organized plan forward based on everything we need to use to prioritize.

    What do you already have in place that you can modify to more easily sift through and prioritize what is on your plate?

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“To provide free, short, simple, and actionable content to tackle the real challenges we are facing now.”

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