Several years ago I had the privilege to participate in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Program. It was certainly an amazing experience. And while I don’t necessarily adhere to a strict “Covey” framework in managing my time; the principles of the system certainly continue to guide me in my effectiveness.
One of the takeaways from the course came not from the coursework but rather was a helpful declaration from the instructor. She said, “If you’ll spend 20 minutes planning your week and 5 minutes each morning to plan your day, you’ll save yourself four hours of work.” When I initially heard this I didn’t believe it. But over time I’ve realized that carving out the space to plan what you’re going to do will save you hours bouncing around in your day thinking about what you need to do next. If you have a plan you’re more likely to stick to it instead of taking the Facebook/Twitter/Insert-time-suck-here dive.
This principle came up during one of my conversations with a co-worker this afternoon. She told me that one of the faithful servants at church has a rule when doing crafts with kids. The rule is: “Always do the craft first.” This instantly intrigued me and asked her to tell me the back story.
When planning a craft this individual used to read the instructions, buy the supplies, and then do the craft with the kids. However, she realized that the instructions weren’t always complete, lacked steps, or the craft was just a bad idea. It’s one thing to choose a craft from a book. It’s quite another to sit down with ten kids and hope to get each one of them to complete said craft. In short, if she couldn’t complete the craft with minimal effort, how could she expect less skilled hands to finish the artwork in the allotted amount of time? Her decision was to always complete the craft before bringing it to the classroom.
The profoundness of this rule is amazing because the principle stretches far beyond craft making. Planning our week means that we have a guideline in place before the week even starts. Are there days that something urgent will blow up your plan? Absolutely. But in taking the time to do your level best to anticipate what each day will entail, you’re able to roll with the punches and meet most of your planned tasks, activities, and goals. Not taking the time to plan is like going into a classroom without doing the craft first.
So… lesson for the week? Do the craft first. It will save you time and headaches in the long run. Plus, you’ll start your Monday with a little less stress because you’ve done your best to anticipate what your week will bring. If I ever finish my book this will be a chapter for sure.
Til next time,