As we begin to seriously concentrate on working towards achieving the goals we set for ourselves this year, I felt I should share about a positive habit that has transformed my work, business and life generally, and which has brought results for many other people that I have shared it with. It's called Action Planning.
I used to have big problems with managing my time and other resources because of not having a daily action plan. I would, for instance, leave home wanting to do ten things, only to realise it is evening and I've accomplished only two or three. To make it worse, sometimes I'd find that I started with the least important, such as visiting someone, and left out the most important things such as submitting a proposal before a deadline.
I would leave home and head to town with money in my pocket only to return home in the evening with nothing more than the transport fare. And like many other Africans, I would cover up my poor financial management habits by claiming that money passes through my fingers. But the truth remains: I was just a poor manager of resources.
In an attempt to solve my problem, I started drawing a plan for everyday, specifying what I wanted to do, what time I'd spend on each activity, the resources I would need and what I intended to achieve out of each activity. When I started to see positive results I disciplined myself more to stick to my daily action plans.
Later, I discovered that this is actually an action plan and that every successful man or woman does it whether knowingly or unknowingly. So I decided to start training other people how to develop their own daily action plans and the results continued to amaze me.
Since that time I have continued to make my daily action plan for myself and together with my staff, we always make one for my company. It helps us know who does what, when, what he/she needs, the expected results and so on. With an action plan it's easy to tell where the problem is once you don't see results.
If last year you had issues with managing your time, money and other resources, I encourage you to try out action planning. An action plan will help you prioritise your activities of the day and not waste a lot of time on less important things. It will help you value your time more and for sure you will be able to maximize the hours in a day without unnecessary confusion and stress.
I wish space allowed me to stay longer and get into the details of a good action plan. But I promise you to come back. Keep reading this column.
Bake is the managing director of World of Inspiration & founder of the Authors' Forum in Uganda