Stack of postits

Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. –Paul J. Meyer

Do you enjoy structure and order? Do you color code your calendar and thrive when checking off tasks on your to-do lists? Some of you say, “Yes, love it.” Others are probably rolling your eyes in misery. Regardless of your emotion, planning and organizing are critical components of success.

Let’s set the record straight, planning and organizing do not necessarily entail sophisticated schemes or rigid structures. Planning is simply the ability to set goals and determine the steps needed to reach that goal. It is mapping your route to a destination. Organizing consists of arranging people, tasks and information to achieve that goal. When you and your family decide to take a vacation, you’ll determine where you are going, how you’ll get there, and what you’ll need along the way. That’s planning. Finding dates that work for everyone in the family, getting maps and coupons, and asking neighbors to gather your mail ensure that your planning is organized and efficient. Planning and organizing go hand in hand—planning focuses on the steps needed to achieve a particular goal, while organization promotes efficiency in achieving that end.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin

Regardless of one’s job level within a company, every role demands organization and planning.. Senior staff sets the mission and strategy for the entire organization. Teams work synergistically and depend upon each other to deliver those corporate outcomes. Completing goals, tasks and actions thoughtfully and on time ensures forward momentum is efficient and effective across the company. Breakdowns in planning and organizing impact colleagues, project timelines, customer deliverables and the reputation of the organization. Thus, successful and measurable planning and organizing is vital at all levels of an organization.

Here are some benefits an organized planner brings:

  • Puts plans into action effectively
  • Works effectively within established timeframes and priorities
  • Utilizes logical, practical and efficient approaches
  • Develops procedures, processes and systems for order, accuracy, efficiency and productivity
  • Anticipates probable effects, outcomes and risks
  • Allocates, adjusts and manages resources according to priorities
  • Monitors implementation of plans and makes adjustments as needed
  • Communicates obstacles and delays in deliverables early to alert others who will be impacted

In other words, an organized planner has the ability to transform vision into action and follow it through to its fastest and most effective end. If your head nods in agreement with these behavioral traits, you are probably on the right track, but maybe it doesn’t come naturally to you to implement these things into practice. For those of you who see an opportunity to sharpen you’re your skills in this area, check out our organized planner steps.

Five valuable steps to planning and organizing in the workplace:

  1. Understand the goal. How does this outcome link to your corporate mission? What does “success” look like and why is it important? What are the critical contingencies to achieving that outcome?
  2. Determine what critical objectives need to be accomplished in order to achieve that goal. These are sub-goals with measurable outcomes that will contribute to the achievement of your goal.
  3. Break down each critical goal into functional tasks. What information or resources are needed? Who is responsible? Who else needs to be involved? Who needs to be informed? How much time will it take?
  4. Contingency planning. What are the risks? What needs to happen if Plan A fails? Add buffer into your timeline to plan for the inevitable unexpected.
  5. Communicate. Keep others informed of your task/goal/ project status. Who is dependent upon your output? Communication is a two-way street. Don’t hesitate to solicit information from others to ensure you meet other’ expectations and needs.

By following these steps and utilizing the skills needed for effective planning and organizing in the workplace, you will deliver quality results on time. Every individual has the potential to be an effective planner and organizer in the workplace. Commit yourself to implementing these habits so that you can accomplish greatness in every project, department and company you serve.