Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tip of the Day: 4 Easy Steps to Doing Anything Better

Today, my tip is about improving your work life (and eventually, your personal life, too). It's 4 easy steps involving planning, communicating, doing the plan and reviewing the plan for improvement. It could also be build, reveal, share and improve.

4 Easy (EASY!) Steps:
  1. Plan
  2. Communicate
  3. Do
  4. Refine
Each of the four stages has its own components.

For Planning, you need to make sure that:

  • The plan fits your overall goals for the project / organization
  • The plan fits within your values (i.e. timeliness, excellence, providing more than was asked for)
  • The plan has clearly defined what will be done, who will do each part, when each part will be done, and what resources/information is necessary to start / finish the project
For Communicate, you have to make sure that you communicate your plan to

  • The people above you,
  • The people affected by your decisions or waiting on your project,
  • The people working with you who need to do some part of the plan, and
  • The people outside of the organization that might need to know.

Figuring out who will be affected by your plan, and who is waiting on it is a good process.

For Doing the Plan, you have to have a good to do list that is clear and in logical order. Nobody can do everything at once. Do you shampoo your hair, dry your hair and then put conditioner in it? No! There is a sequence that makes everything more efficient!
  1. First, do this.
  2. At the same time, start this.
  3. Then, once #1 has been completed, do this.

Some things can be done simultaneously (at the same time), but other things happen sequentially (one followed by another). You should draw "Flow Charts" to figure out where the bottle necks will be in your plan, and make sure that you address potential obstacles early on.

For Refining the Plan, you want to think about the process you used, the people and situations you took into account as you communicated and performed each task.


  • Where did you lose time?
  • Who did you have to wait for before getting started?
  • What made the plan hardest to accomplish?
  • What do you know now that can help you next time you do something?

The planing process can help you in personal and professional matters. From the way you make your breakfast (do you start the stove fire first or get your ingredients out of the refrigerator first), to the way you schedule your free time (do you set personal goals for the 1-year, 5-year, 10-year?), to the way you respond to emails from colleagues and employers.

The more often you take your "PROCESS" outside of your head and put it on paper to analyze, the more improvement you will see over time.

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