There’s a classic cliché or slogan in the time-management and personal planning industries about “planning the work and working the plan”. It basically is a form of “plan and execute” or “plan and do”, but it is more than that…it takes into account that you did the work to do a proper plan, taking into account the variables you had, and you came up with something viable.
Implementation though prompts a number of reactions. First and foremost, there are the rigid thinkers who will follow the plan all the way to Hades. Doesn’t matter, they have their orders, even if they gave them to themself, and they will not deviate it from it no matter what the evidence or results are telling them. Second is the other end of the spectrum…it is the type who knows that a battle plan never survives engagement with the enemy, and because they misinterpret what that means, they jettison the plan at the first sign of ANYTHING that deviates from the plan and wing it for the rest of the implementation. Their attitude is you can’t plan for everything so why worry too much about planning for anything. Get a basic idea and GO.
But in the middle is the workman who knows that a good plan is mostly about the process of building the plan. Understanding what the variables are. Understanding the interdependencies. Understanding the resources available, the starting point, the ending point, and the flexibilities to get from one to the other. You don’t “implement a plan”, you work with it, tweaking as you go, keeping what works, adjusting what doesn’t. A good framework helps you know where you’re going; building the framework helps you know what your capacity is for getting there.
I had a pretty good day today. We have set ourselves a basic 9-5 workday, with Andrea taking a break at 11:00 to spend time with Jacob when his class breaks for first rest/recess and me taking a break at 1:00 p.m. to have lunch with him. This morning, Andrea had a dentist appointment at 8:00 so we were up and out the door by 7:30. She had her appointment, everything is on track for her dental work, I picked her back up, and off we were home. With a pit stop at the grocery store to get milk, fresh bananas, and some ground beef for tonight’s dinner (tacos).
We were back to the house by 9:00 a.m., before Jacob even started his class. Nice.
My morning schedule wasn’t too pressed, first meeting at 10:30 so I had time to get ready, with a pre-conference call just before it to agree on what a co-lead was going to cover and what I would cover. Then the meeting, went reasonably well, some good follow-up, and on to the next thing.
I had a couple of impromptu meetings in MS Teams, set up a bunch of groups so we can stay organized going forward, got some buy-in and support to lead a couple of initiatives we want to do across the branch, and it wasn’t even lunch yet. I grabbed a snack, and started writing a speech. More like speech modules, but I did it up like a big inspirational speech that I’ll have to tone down tomorrow into more digestible chunks, but I gave my creative side free rein, and it felt good to flex those muscles.
I had lunch with Jacob, then back into the digital world of working from home. I finished the speech, handled a few other things that had cropped up, tasked out a few other things, and generally kicked butt and took names most of the afternoon.
I’m not sure exactly where in my career I would say I was my “best self” as an employee, firing on all cylinders and being uber productive, but I know it isn’t “today”. Still, I’m probably firing at about 80% of my previous capacity, and feeling good about the way forward.
I even found time today to reach out to offer some online support to two communities, where newbies are struggling with stuff that is a level beyond their capacity. I reframed it and explained what they needed to do (and how to understand it, which is part of my jam), and they were off and running again with renewed optimism after hitting the frustration wall.
Dinner was simple tacos, Jacob is doing piano theory and hanging out with Andrea, and I’m figuring out a couple of small web puzzles. And then I treated myself to a small binge of episodes of Monk from Season 3.
Today I choose to work the plan and today it worked well. It won’t always be that successful, but I’ll take the victory lap for today.
What choices are you making today?