Perfect Planning Genius
Planning and organising your time to achieve things can be a typical challenge for many people, especially if you are a Dyslexic or Dyspraxic individual.
Something that works really well for my clients is when they have the ideal planning system for them. They may well enjoy a paper diary and a to do list or something electronic i.e. Microsoft Outlook Calendar and task list or a Gmail calendar that works with their mobile telephone.
The consistent keys for the success of each system are:
1. That is used immediately when any new information comes in i.e. someone requesting to book a meeting. This means that you don’t need to rely on short term memory or losing a piece of paper before this information is input.
2. Regularly reviewing this tool to see what things are currently the priorities and finding a way to indicate what has already been achieved i.e. ticking each thing that is done. So on Monday review the week ahead, just before the day finishes review the current day and the next. When you review, do you need to transfer information anywhere i.e. from a notepad in your pocket to your diary and or to do list. You could spend time at the end of the month reviewing the next month ahead.
3. Using a colour coded system for planning in different activities. If you can associate these colours to a positive feeling i.e. gold appointments for something you enjoy to the colour of the sun, this can help to strengthen memory. What happens here is that colour appeals to a common dyslexic advantage of a stronger visual memory and commonly we remember things we enjoy more than things that we don’t!
4. Plan in your system everything and start with those things which are already given to you. For example, you may have your holiday dates, dates for work place deadlines such as reviews or legal requirements.
A tool that I personally enjoy using, along with clients and colleagues, is a G Mail calendar. This works really well for me because:
• It is free
• It integrates with my laptop, mobile ‘phone and tablet pc
• It integrates with my partner’s calendar so that we both can book in social events
• It will connect with Microsoft Outlook; just download a calendar synchronisation program. You find out more and download this free program here http://support.google.com/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=98563
• I can colour code stuff on the G Mail Website version, which I can access from any computer with the internet.
This multiple levels of backup and integration are ideal for me! I found that with a paper diary, my handwriting became more illegible to fit the space and, where something changed, it quickly became a mess. I would also forget to take it with me or find it easy to lose/ leave places. A paper diary can also be a disaster if something was spilt on it, wrecking my memory. I also personally associated it with the boredom of planning, the pain of legibly writing and frustration. I connected the electronic version to enjoyment of catching up with people online and the ease of using my computer.
A calendar which is colour coded with the most recent information, is a real joy to use and makes getting things done a lot easier. More tips for success:
• Another key thing for this is to align your tasks that you put into your calendar ideally to a time where you are at your best to do that task i.e.
Making phone calls in the morning and writing reports later in the day if you are better at structuring reports in the afternoon.
• Set yourself plenty of time. So, if your report is due in a week, how quickly can you start it? Allow yourself to succeed, add in time for you to leave the report and proof read it before you need to send it. How would you feel if you sent your report in on time, knowing that you had reviewed it and done your best?
If you had a planning system that was just the way you would like it to be, it would be like what?
And, to get a system just like that, what happens just before?
Clients who develop their ideal planning system report increased accuracy in work, meeting work and personal deadlines, resulting from a clear idea of what needs to happen and when. This increases their level of calm, leaving them more attention to manage their thinking.