Performance Improvement & Professional Development

If – Then Planning

Red path across labyrinth isolated on whiteYou’ve heard me say before that achievement is about doing – not about dreaming. Achievers have a desire and the ability to get important things done when others are spending their time making excuses. Did you really have no time to get your workout in today? Were there not five minutes in your entire day to make that important phone call?

To be highly productive, you’ll need to seize the day, and that means controlling the clock and controlling the calendar. By the way, this won’t happen if you see yourself as a victim of circumstances. You have much more control of your time and your calendar than you probably give yourself credit for.

Instead, you can use if-then planning this way. “If it’s 6:30 AM, then I’ll walk for 30 minutes.” “If it’s 1:30 PM, then I’ll return all pending phone calls.” A simple formula, right? If X happens, then I’ll do Y.

If I haven’t completed the XYZ report by noon today, then I won’t take lunch.

If I find myself distracted by coworkers or colleagues, then I’ll find a quiet place to work on the XYZ project.

If it’s 6 p.m., then I’ll stop work at the office and head home to spend time with the family.

Plans like these are so effective because they’re written in terms our brain can understand – the language of contingencies. As it turns out, human beings are good at encoding these kinds of statements or messages. Our brain likes processing “if X, then Y” scenarios. Come to think of it, so do I. Don’t you?

If- then planning puts you in the driver’s seat in terms of deciding what you’re going to accomplish and when. With this type of plan in place, you can start your day knowing exactly what you need to do and when you’re going to do it. And, your subconscious brain is going to help you get it done.

About the Author

Les Taylor is the founder and managing partner of Outperformers International. He is an award-winning author, professional speaker and recognized expert in the field of performance improvement and professional development. Les is a former law enforcement executive, served as the executive director of the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police, is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is a past president of the Arizona Chapter of the National Speakers Association.

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