How do you carve out time to strategize? Your day is so busy doing. When do you have time to plan? Successful projects aren’t just comprised of one task after another that have fallen out of the sky. They are the result of serious strategizing, goal making and then task execution. So, when do you have time in your schedule that isn’t given to something else to disconnect, unplug and strategize?

The answer? You don’t. You have to make time. You’re so inundated with tasks that thinking of strategizing seems like some far-off luxury. The truth is that, without time for strategizing, you’re driving blind. You are less productive, less successful and accomplish less long-term goals. Deadlines drive deliverables. As you’re going through tasks, you’re recognizing them, but not really giving thought to the overall results you’re looking for. When you assign tasks that force you to strategize, suddenly you get planning done.

What you really need to strategize is your time, focus and attention. You’ll need to start by setting up real deadlines to drive planning. You have to find opportunities in your schedule to set up regular standing conference calls or meetings. Why? Imaginary deadlines do NOT drive deliverables. A to do list is nice. Adding “strategizing” onto your list is well intentioned, but these items and deadlines are arbitrary and truly mean nothing. When do you actually deliver? When someone is expecting you to deliver. Deadlines like this carry much more weight. When you know you have an upcoming call on the status of a certain project or client, you’re more likely to prepare for that meeting. While on the call, you have now carved aside time to strategize on upcoming goals and tasks needed to accomplish these goals. So set these calls weekly or biweekly so you are constantly creating time for strategy.

How much more valuable would your work be if, instead of just running through tasks, you spent actual thought cycles on things rather than just winging it and then trying to figure it out later? Taking time to strategize may actually be the most important part of your day. Progress meetings with clients are a great deadline to set so that you have a date to finish tasks that are outstanding and a great deadline to set to come up with goals and next steps to discuss. Review meetings are important, a main agenda item for those meetings needs to be strategizing. What’s happened? How has it worked? How hasn’t it worked? What’s next? How can we accomplish this?

Accountability is a huge driver of progress. People are more likely to take the time to perform when they are being held accountable. Yourself included. Holding yourself and those around you accountable, forces you to constantly reevaluate, plan and execute. 

Finding time to strategize is never going to be simple. You are busy and that is okay. Getting so caught up in the tasks that you don’t leave room for planning and vision is not going to work out though. Set real deadlines for yourself and those around you to hold yourself accountable and drive planning and progress. Questions on strategic planning? Comment below!