Leadership & Training

JS Tip 44: From the Time Management Workshops: Backwards Planning

This is simple, and you may already be using the ideas.

Identify the end point. The deadline. For example, the time the flight leaves. 

Identify each required small step. Identify the time each step will take and build in a “fudge factor.”

Work backwards to identify the start time:

Flight leaves: 9:15 am

Be at the airport (hour and a half): 7:45 am

Leave for the airport (half an hour): 7:15 am

Load the car (fifteen minutes): 7:00 am

Get ready (forty-five minutes): 6:15 am

Flip the list and you have your timetable:

Get ready: 6:15 am (forty-five minutes)

Load the car: 7:00 am (fifteen minutes)

Leave for the airport: 7:15 am (half an hour)

Be at the airport: 7:45 am (hour and a half)

Flight leaves: 9:15 am

If you finish a task early, use the extra time to do extra tasks:

Write thank-you notes.

Read a book.

Go to Disney World.

Get caught up.

This sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how few grasp even this concept of time-management. They’re the perpetuallly late. And you know who they are.

What do you like about backwards planning? Dislike? What would you change? What time-saving tips do you use? We'd like to hear from you.