I’ve read and written plenty about preparation being the key to success. It’s something I believe and have a simple story to illustrate the importance of preparation or setting yourself up for success.
Jim and the coffee maker
I like my coffee first thing in the morning. So each night before I head off to bed, I grind some fresh beans, and get the coffee maker all set to brew my first cup of coffee when I wake up. Sure I could stumble down the steps and go through the whole process in the morning, but it’s simpler to just push the on button as I walk by to feed the cats. The other upside is that I don’t wake anyone else in the house by using the grinder first thing in the morning.
Setting yourself up for success is about planning ahead, even if it’s just several hours. When I know that I have a meeting or event later in the day, I start working the clock backwards in my head to make sure those things that are most important get done. The key is to not let anyone down … Well, actually the key is to not let myself down. We all set high expectations for ourselves and with just a little preparation we can make sure to achieve those expectations.
The power of re-writing lists
One day last week I was about 30 minutes early to my Apple Genius Bar appointment. So I sat down at a local coffee shop with a week’s worth of Post-It notes. I converted those 12 Post-It notes into a two-page plan in my notebook. Writing this post is part of that plan. Of the 20 or so items I listed, about 25 percent are done or delegated. I find that by re-writing lists I force myself to create new priority lists. The most important items almost always end up at the top of the list.
Spending just a few minutes to prepare and plan for the tasks at hand can’t help but set you up for success.