Here Are Six Habits to Make You Better at Planning

By Harvard Business Review
August 9, 2017

These key steps will get you using your natural brain strength when trying to organize your time.

Learning how to plan — especially if you’re new to organizing your time — can be a frustrating experience. But you can develop planning skills through persistent practice. Here are some ways to use knowledge of your natural brain strength to build your planning skills.

RECOGNIZE YOUR STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES: To find out what part of your brain dominates, complete the self-assessment in the book Thriving in Mind, or participate in the more formal Benziger Thinking Styles Assessment. Learning more about your natural thinking style can help you better understand what works best for you.

ACCEPT THE DIFFICULTY: If we expect that a task will be difficult, we may still flounder, but we’ll be more willing to work through any issues, since we’ll understand that challenge is part of the process.

LET GO OF ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: Some people think that they must follow their plans perfectly, or their efforts will be wasted. Instead, try to view learning as a process where improvement counts and every day matters.

FIND SYSTEMS THAT WORK: Instead of forcing yourself into an established scheduling process, find a system that works for you, whether it's using sticky notes, whiteboards, spreadsheets or apps on your phone. Experiment until you find the right fit.

BORROW OTHER PEOPLE'S BRAINS: If you know people who excel in planning or have good organizational skills, ask for their advice and insight. They may be able to offer solutions to problems that overwhelm you.

KEEP TRYING: When you find yourself getting frustrated in the process of planning, have self-compassion when you make mistakes, refocus when you get distracted and adjust your plan when new issues crop up.

Copyright 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

Topics: Management

Are You Enabling a Toxic Culture Without Realizing It?
6 Steps Leaders Can Take To Get The Most Out of Feedback
Transform your organization - Get leadership training from the experts!

Popular Articles


About Physician Leadership News

Now more than ever, physicians are leaders in their organizations and communities.

The American Association for Physician Leadership maximizes and supports physician leadership through education, community, and influence. We promote thought leadership in health care through our Physician Leadership News website, bimonthly Physician Leadership Journal and other channels.

We focus on industry leadership issues such as patient care, finance, professional development, law, and technology. Association announcements and news of association events can be found.

Send us your feedback at

Journal Submission Guidelines

AAPL's award-winning print publication, the Physician Leadership Journal, welcomes originally authored manuscripts for peer review that meet competency, formatting and preparation criteria. To review these guidelines and other information regarding submissions, click here.