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Consultants, Here’s How to Increase Your Productivity in 10 Minutes

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Published:
July 6, 2022
Reading Time:
10 minutes
Leo
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

If you google “best productivity hacks”, you will find over 9.5 million results. And if you, like most people, consider the second page of Google search results the dark web, the articles on the first page will all have a similar message, e.g use project management systems, don’t respond to emails, turn off notifications, etc.

Now, although these are all great tips, they do not really teach you why you should plan your day and how you can plan it in such a way that you manage to get all the tasks done by COB.

This ends today.

This article is dedicated to planning. Not short-term or long-term planning, but simply taking ten minutes to reflect on the daily objectives and thus increase your productivity.

Why Is Planning Important?

As humans, the time and energy we have, are finite. But if they are used efficiently, it can make a person reach the level that they want to be at, both professionally and personally. That is why planning is important. Proper planning enables us to allocate time and resources to complete tasks that will eventually take us to the next level.

Throughout your business consulting career, you will face situations in which you will have to pick and prioritize the most critical tasks and leave the ones of lower importance for another day. This is because there is only so much one human can accomplish in 24 hours. But rest assured, with proper planning, almost anything you desire can be achieved, and you will increase your productivity.

The humans who built the world’s tallest building, walked on the moon, swam across the English Channel, or climbed Mount Everest all had the same 24 hours as you. But there is one attribute highly successful people have that others don't—exceptional planning skills.

But why exactly is planning essential within the consulting industry? To understand this, let’s discuss the top four reasons why consultants must plan their day in advance.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

    • Every individual only gets 24 hours in a day, but the ones who are successful truly know how to plan in advance and utilize these hours to the fullest
    • Not planning in advance may be one of the key reasons behind burnouts
    • Planning helps you move in the right direction from the get-go and improves efficiency
    • Proper planning can help you pivot quickly during unprecedented events that force you to change priorities
    • Other productivity hacks may fail if you don’t nail planning

Reason #1: Not planning your time well may result in burnout

Your business consulting career will be the busiest adventure of your life. And as you probably know, consulting means working long hours. But long working hours do not necessarily mean stress and anxiety. That will only happen if you don’t plan your schedule intelligently. For instance, skipping that 1-hour workout or 30-min meditation break during work is an example of bad planning. And a series of such events is what leads to the dreaded burnout.

Reason #2: Planning increases your efficiency as a consultant

When you plan your day in advance, it helps you divide your tasks into smaller units. When you work your way through each of the smaller units efficiently, it improves the overall efficiency of the entire task. For example, here is how you can break down a client interview into smaller units:

  • Check out the client’s website to gain information about them
  • List down the names of key personnel and read their bios
  • Get familiarized with the company’s vision, mission, and goals
  • Prepare the PowerPoint slide
  • Meet the client at 10:00 AM and present the slides
  • Let them ask questions regarding the presentation
  • Instruct Jonah to walk the client through the next steps

Do you see how efficient you can be in your business consulting career if you break a task into smaller units? That is the magic of planning.

Reason #3: Planning helps you move in the right direction

When you wake up in the morning, do you know exactly what you are going to accomplish during the day? If not, then you may end up moving into sheer chaos within a couple of hours. So, as soon as the day begins, you must know at least three main tasks you have to perform for the day. A directionless consultant doesn’t last long in the industry. You should always know what you want and go after it.

Reason #4: Planning enables you to pivot quickly

Let’s assume that you have planned to work on data analysis today. However, the junior analyst tells you that they have completely forgotten to collect a very important piece of data. This would mean that you cannot analyze anything until you get all the relevant data. What do you do now? Well, if you plan in advance, you will know which tasks you have to prioritize. So, if data analysis cannot be commenced, you can move another task from a lower level in the priority list to a higher level and work on it. Thus, you will increase your productivity.

How to Make the Most of Your First 10 Minutes Through Planning

Planning is one of the best productivity hacks out there. But is there a way to create short plans within a few minutes? And if yes, are these plans useful?

You see, sometimes, planning can take a few months or even years. For instance, governments all around the world have four-year or five-year plans for future developments. But for now, let’s examine how you, as a consultant, can create your daily plans in 10 minutes and increase your productivity exponentially.

increase your productivity, Consultants, Here’s How to Increase Your Productivity in 10 Minutes

Step 1: Take a minute and imagine what a successful day would look like today

Ask yourself, “What will give me a sense of accomplishment by the end of the day?” Truly, when tasks remain undone and a day is not fruitful, it can leave you with doubts about your own capabilities. On the flip side, if you plan well in advance and accomplish what you intended to in the morning by the end of the day, you will experience a feeling of success, which will eventually lead to job satisfaction and a blissful career.

Step 2: List down the three most important objectives for the day

Please do not fool yourself, there is no sense in biting more than you can chew. Only list down objectives that you can actually accomplish realistically. Here is an example:

Objective 1: Conduct focus group interview to collect data on how customers perceive electric cars

Objective 2: Mediate the dispute resolution meeting with two associate consultants and help them cooperate with each other

Objective 3: Analyze the online survey regarding the popularity of vegan yogurts in Europe that ended last week

Now, even if you have been allocated tasks related to the above objectives in the firm’s project management platform, writing them down in your own format helps you personalize them and make things clearer and simpler.

Step 3: Create blocks of time for each objective

This is the most important step of all. And if this step goes wrong many times in a row, you will start thinking that your job is way too hectic and you can’t get anything done. In reality, the problem is that you are not managing your time well.

When you create time blocks for each objective, stick to the tasks related to that objective for that time period. You have to be very serious and passionate about guarding your time. Distractions may come up and priorities may change unexpectedly, but you should try your best to not let external circumstances affect your productivity.

If you focus on multiple tasks during a given time slot, you may end up giving only your 50% in each task. Instead, what you should do is fully focus and commit to one objective at a time and give your 100%.

Final Thoughts

One of the best productivity hacks out there is proper planning. Sure, there are other ways of how to increase your productive, like listening to instrumental music or getting proper sleep. But without planning, all the other hacks will be in vain.

Now, when it comes to career planning, you can surely create long-term and short-term plans that cover anything between a few weeks and five years. But remember, empires are built brick by brick. Thus, similarly, your business consulting career will be built day by day.

And if you use the three-step method to create a daily work plan, which may take you less than ten minutes, you will be able to give your best every day. One day then, these days will add up to take you to new heights in your career.

So, start small, start today.

Good luck.

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