You’ve heard me talk before about how we need to spend more time on the improtant rather than the urgent stuff at work.
One of the most important areas in a manager’s life that often gets neglected because of the urgent items getting priority is that of strategic thinking. You may feel that you don’t have time to devote to something that is a nice to do rather than a need to do.
The challenge is that if you don’t proactively deal with thinking things through strategically, you will find your vision deminishes and your direction starts to waver. So how do you find time to put strategy at the top of your list? Here are some ideas:
1.Decide what you actually want to think about. When you’re on the way to work, or at your weekend, decide which areas of your job or projects are the most important. Choose an item that is most important to you.
2.Decide on the materials you’ll need to work with. If you’ve got several (hundred) emails to get through, plan your time in the day when they will be covered, then determine that the materials you’ll need for your strategic thinking time.
3.Plan your time. You have to be proactive. Close the door if you can. Plan a day at home if you can. Go to an empty conference room. Turn your phone off. Be unavailable to everyone, except in emergencies. You need this time to yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
4.Be very specific with what you want to achieve. Specificity is the key to results in this area. If you allow your mind to wander, you will not get the results you potentially could achieve. Concentrate for as much time as you can without wavering. You need to get results and they can’t be achieved without full concentration.
5.Plan to do this regularly. If possible, 15-20 minutes a day. You’ll find that if you do this regularly, it will become a habit that you look forward to and won’t be a chore. If you can’t manage every day, plan for 30 minutes, 3 days a week. The point is regularity and specificity. Without this, it will become hard work, you won’t look forward to it, and you’ll find excuses to miss it.
Strategic thinking should become a necessary part of your working week. Plan to achieve these goals and you’ll reap the rewards big time.
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.