If-then planning

If-then planning

Analysis with charts of progress in business and metallic pen

I am actively re-reading classic books and listening to podcasts through a plethora of different genres. One Harvard Business Review podcast struck me recently relating to If-then planning which prompted me to read into the topic.

In essence it is a very simple strategy to help us deal effectively with distractions, which we so often try to achieve.

How many times are you disrupted by a colleague at your desk, a phone call, or just ‘glanced’ at your email and ten minutes later you are still not back to what you were supposed to be doing? Making If-then plans helps to tackle your current projects, or reach your goals, and is probably the most effective single thing you can do to ensure your success. Most of us are familiar with goal setting and If-then planning is a more structured version of that.

4 steps to achieve If-then planning
1. Set your goals/objectives
2. Break-down your goals/objectives into tangible sub-goals/sub-objectives
3. Identify your detailed actions, including who, when and where, for achieving each sub-goal
4. Create if-then plans that trigger actions

Examples of If-then planning
• If I am doing my work, then I do not check for texts or messages.
• If I feel irritated by a co-worker, then I will take a break and go a speed-walk to get the irritation out of me.
• If it is 4pm, then I will spend an hour reading and responding to important emails.
• If I am at a meeting, then my phone is put away (respectful to others also!).
• If I have to drive my car, then I will not even look at my phone.

To achieve success with your If-then planning the following is required:
– Commitment
– Fix the start date
– Be specific
– Expect the unexpected: be prepared to adapt and stay on track.

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