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Be More Creative and Productive with a Daily Flight Plan

Daily Flight Plan to be More Productive and Creative - Delightability, LLC.

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Personal Productivity is about:

  • Having the right mental models
  • Putting in place systems that work for you
  • Maintaining clarity over your priorities

Having the right mental models

Without the right mental models for how things work, you can burn much time and not make any progress. This is bad for you and those that rely on you, whether that is at home, work, or somewhere else. A simple mental model that is commonly understood is the water faucet. Most people understand that when you lift or turn the handle on a faucet water will begin to flow. Imagine for a moment that we didn’t have that mental model. We’d go thirsty while the solution to our thirst is hidden in plain sight. Imagine if we didn’t understand how to use a grocery store. Personal productivity likewise requires that we have mental models for how things work. Things like the calendar or breaking something complex into smaller components can help us be more productive. This is why the Daily Flight Plan includes a quarterly calendar and the Big Picture.

Putting in place systems that work for you

No matter how much or how little each of us do, we have systems that we’ve adopted to get on with living, working, or recreating. Perhaps you have a system to pay your bills online, before they are overdue. Or, perhaps you have a system that you’ve adopted to arrive at meetings on time or never run out of clean shirts or coffee. Using a Daily Flight Flight is a system to formalize the unspoken and  unwritten agreement between you and your good intentions. It is a system that can be used daily or whatever period you wish in order to document and reflect on what you think is important to get done. The items you list on your Daily Flight Plan can be tiny tasks or giant undertakings. Adapt and morph this system over time to fit your own style and needs.

Maintaining clarity over your priorities

You’ll get interrupted, that is a fact. Reading this might be an interruption. If you write down your priorities you’ll at least have a fighting chance to revisit your priorities as you receive new information or things and people clamor for your attention. There is a funny thing that happens when you right down your priorities, namely, you free your mind. Your mind will continue to noodle on things that float around in your head until you formally commit to do them, whether that is in a Daily Flight Plan or another system. You can have things you don’t want to do, things you definitely have to do, and things you wish you had time to do. In your mind, you don’t have a very good way to bookkeep and differentiate between these priorities. On the Daily Flight Plan you can write things down, create an ordered list, cross things off, assign a future date to revisit, etc. It helps to simplify a mind running in overdrive mode.

Get Started

So, give it a try. Click the image to download the full size PDF. Save it to your computer and print it as you need it. This free little tool has worked for me in my personal and professional live and it can work for you, too. If you want to know more about the little icons, then read the earlier blog posts and my book, The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations.

Links to previous blog posts about the Daily Flight Plan

A More Productive Happier Life with a Daily Flight Plan and Q4 Calendar

Is Your Flight Plan Ready for Your Small Business? 

Free 2014 Daily Flight Plan with Q3 Calendar and Big Picture Reminder for SuperHeros

Free 2014 Q2 Calendar Tool to Make Daily Living a Little Less Argh

Free Q1 Calendar Tool to Make 2014 Sing

 

Greg-Olson-author-image - The Experience Design BLUEPRINT - Delightability - The Big Idea ToolkitGreg Olson is the author of The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations. See the Book and Author Summary PDF or find the book on Amazon. Read the reviews and see what others are saying.

Category : Blog

A More Productive Happier Life with a Daily Flight Plan and Q4 Calendar

Daily Flight Plan for Happier Balanced Life - Big Idea Toolkit from Delightability

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Time is Limited

You have less than 3 months until the beginning of the new year. The 4th quarter can be your most productive time if you are prepared. Paying attention to your daily priorities and limiting work in process will help you to focus and get more done. Whether you use the Big Idea Toolkit or not, you can benefit from the free Daily Flight Plan to keep your calendar top of mind along with your daily priorities. Think you have more than 13 priorities each day? Ok, then use two Flight Plans. But, remember if you have too many priorities, then you have no priorities. Don’t confuse a constant state of being busy with actually making progress.

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” – Henry David Thoreau

 

Links to previous blog posts about the Daily Flight Plan

Is Your Flight Plan Ready for Your Small Business? 

Free 2014 Daily Flight Plan with Q3 Calendar and Big Picture Reminder for SuperHeros

Free 2014 Q2 Calendar Tool to Make Daily Living a Little Less Argh

Free Q1 Calendar Tool to Make 2014 Sing

 

You are Better than a Cat, Right?

You can get more stuff done with todays tools, devices, and connections than several of your equivalent selves could get done, even a few years ago. There is no match for what you can do. But, if you’re not careful you could also get caught up in the superstorm of noise, social media, polarizing politics, or chasing the latest internet meme. I’m not saying you should eschew all things social, especially entertaining cat videos. I particularly like the cat in the shark suit riding the Roomba. If you use the daily flight plan you’ll be more focused on your work and obligations, but you’ll also be sure to include among your priorities things in your personal life. That’s the point of the little 3 legged stool icon on top to remind you. There is much to do of significance and I hope that you’ll help make it happen. We all know that the cats won’t be doing much, except maybe posing.

Greg-Olson-author-image - The Experience Design BLUEPRINT - Delightability - The Big Idea ToolkitGreg Olson is the author of The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations. See the Book and Author Summary PDF or find the book on Amazon. Read the reviews and see what others are saying.

Category : Blog

Free 2014 Daily Flight Plan with Q3 Calendar and Big Picture Reminder for SuperHeros

delight flight plan Q3 2014 calendar with big picture reminder -screen shot - big idea toolkit

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Daily Flight Plan for Newbies and Pros Alike

Making a daily flight plan for your personal and professional life is a good idea. Like a pilot that files a flight plan, it helps communicate where you are going. It can help in the event of trouble and give you or others a place to look for you at your intended destination, in the event you fail to arrive. The flight plan doesn’t discriminate between the novice or the seasoned pro. I use one and you should, too.

Avoid Collisions-in-Thought

A collision-in-thought is where you try to do two things that are opposed to each other. You wouldn’t likely attempt to fly a plane in opposite directions at the same time. Even if you wanted to, you couldn’t. But, sometimes our behaviors and actions resemble this. We say we are going to do one thing and we behave in a way that opposes the very thing we committed to. By making a daily flight plan and making priorities visible you are less likely to engage in self sabotaging behavior that thwarts the very plans you make.

Get More Important Stuff Done and Feel Better Doing it

The feeling of accomplishment is self reinforcing. We all feel better when we meet our commitments. Making your daily priorities clear and highly visible is the first step. Giving yourself permission and capacity to work toward those commitments is step two. Going from an incomplete to-do list to a checked off to-done list is something we all feel great about. Imagine our life-long collection of to-dos including our famous bucket lists.

When the Path Forward is Fuzzy

When you aim to do something, but don’t yet have perfect clarity, at least try to identify the next step. You’ll often find that by starting, you’ll get more clear on additional steps. Our brains are a bit funny like that. They are working even when we appear not to be. It also helps to be mindful of your motivation for taking on something in the first place. The Big Picture Tool forces you to be more clear on the big idea and its intended payoff. The Daily Flight PLan has a mini-Big Picture built into it. When you’re stuck try to visualize the Big Picture – not every single step and minute details, but the big idea, the payoff, and the big chunky steps for implementation. Learn more about the Big Picture tool, and the three psychological zones in Chapter 12 of The Experience Design BLUEPRINT or view the Big Picture video for a ridiculous example of building a sandwich that should drive the point home.

It’s Good to Have a Plan, but Being Flexible is Important

Sure, things will come up whether they are emergencies thrust upon you or new insights that you’ll spark,  leading to new opportunities. It’s fine to change priorities and pursue a new opportunity, even mid flight on your plan. But, if you are going to change priorities and your personal flight path, at least do it consciously. This is a better approach than suddenly departing from the commitments you’ve made to yourself that might have you later surprised when you don’t reach your destination.

You are a SuperHero

You can get more stuff done with todays tools, devices, and connections than several of your equivalent selves could get done, even a decade ago. If you think of your 1950’s equivalent you are even more powerful. There is no match for what you can do. But, if you’re not careful you could also get caught up in the superstorm of noise, social media, polarizing politics, or chasing the latest internet meme. I’m not saying you should eschew all things social. In fact, I think you should be even more civically engaged and social. But, to do that and complete your daily work and obligations you best create and use a daily flight plan. Good luck SuperHero.

Category : Blog

Free 2014 Q2 Calendar Tool to Make Daily Living a Little Less Argh

Delight Flight Plan Q2 2014 screen shot - Delightability - The Big Idea ToolkitCourse Correcting 2014

Is your 2014 living up to your expectations? To the extent it’s not, is the universe solely to blame? Or, are you complicit in drifting off your own plan, not being clear on your own path forward, or not paying attention to the details that matter?

If you are like most people, you vacillate between a paper reality and the killer application or device that is finally going to get you organized. Maybe you hear yourself saying, “This one will be unlike all of the others!”

Cooked Carrots - The Big Idea ToolkitI don’t mean to take the wind our of your sails, but there are some pretty basic shortcomings to a one size fits all approach to most anything. If you don’t believe me, try eating only one food for a week and see how interesting your outlook and mood become. Maybe you can start with carrots. Carrots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Maybe you are living the paperless office dream that no human being I know of actually is. Maybe you have it all figured out, your process and technology working seemingly together in your smoothly sailing life. Maybe that is the story you are telling yourself and perhaps it’s true. But, if you are reading this far, then maybe you’ve come up short and are looking for solutions.

Make Top Priority Actions Visible

I use the daily flight plan to keep my top dozen or so actions visible. Sure, I use other tools, both electronic and paper, but this is one I rely on. After sketching Big Pictures on these daily flight plans numerous times, I simply added a Big Picture in miniature form to the latest version. Learn more about the Big Picture in Chapter 12: The Three Psychological Zones in my book, The Experience Design BLUEPRINT.  Learn more about the icons at the top of the daily flight plan by reading the original flight plan blog post at the Delightability blog.

You’ve heard it before that it take 21 days to form a habit. No matter the time, if you don’t have a visible tool or reminder, it will be harder to stay the course. Try the Free Daily Flight Plan for the next 20 days or so. I think you and the universe will be pleasantly surprised. Good luck in your productive and insightful ventures. Please let me know how it goes.

Greg-Olson-author-image - The Experience Design BLUEPRINT - Delightability - The Big Idea ToolkitGreg Olson is the author of The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations. See the Book and Author Summary PDF or find the book on Amazon.

 

Category : Blog

Free 2014 Calendar Update for PlayBook

2014 Calendar Screen Shot - click image to download full PDFIf you purchased a Big Idea Toolkit or PlayBook calendar in the past, by now you should have received an updated calendar in your email. In case you did not (we did receive a few bounced emails), you may access it here or click on the calendar image.

If you never purchased a Big Idea Toolkit or PlayBook calendar, but simply would like a 2014 calendar, you are in luck.  You are welcome to download the free calendar. Should you need a larger format version that works with sticky notes, then purchase the PlayBook. If you want to get more clear on what goes into the PlayBook, then purchase the Big Picture.  The Big Idea Toolkit contains these and other visual planning tools, too.

The Big Idea Toolkit helps us to navigate across the 3 psychological zones that we operate in, but are often unaware. To learn more about that read Chapter 12: the Three Psychological Zones in The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations.

Another free resource you might find useful is the Delight Flight Plan. Learn more about that here. We hope you are having a fun and productive 2014.

Category : Blog

Establish Bookends to Convince Yourself and Others Your Idea is Worth Pursuing

monkey bookendHighways, buildings, parks, and people work best when there are boundaries involved. After all, you really don’t want somebody driving in your lane, right? When it comes to ideas it isn’t any different; boundaries are useful. Creativity loves constraint.  With a boundary, a challenge becomes more clear. Without it, you will wander around the fuzzy idea for as much time as you allow. The only progress you’ll make is to ideate and fritter away the time, but you won’t actually accomplish anything.

When you are ready to advance an idea for yourself or your team, using the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit can help. The simple visual communication tool forces you to get clear on your idea – both to yourself but, also to others. Simply stating your idea, clearly and concisely creates a solid boundary, a container for your idea. My idea is “this thing here” as opposed to all of these other things. This boundary for your idea establishes the first bookend. Then, be honest with yourself and others and state why the idea matters. Why should it be pursued? Why should any of us care? On the Big Picture visual tool, that’s represented as the payoff. Together the bound idea and the payoff form the bookends. Make the bookends interesting, otherwise you’ll get no support and everything will fall down.

In a group, its important to get clarity and buy-in on the bookends, so your idea can take flight. If you don’t get agreement early on, you certainly won’t get it later when you’re busy executing on all of the details.  Learn more about the Big Picture – see the video on YouTube.

Category : Blog

A Sticky Note Calendar to Feel More in Control of Your Personal and Work Life

the PlayBook wall saver edition from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability LLCThe PlayBook from the Big Idea Toolkit is the place to make work visible and feel in control of your personal and work life. The PlayBook calendar reveals more than a list of dates and events. Sure, you can see the current date, week number, quarter and year on this annual wall planner. But, the PlayBook also tells a story of where you are going and what you have to accomplish to get there.  Best of all, you can use ordinary sticky notes to configure your PlayBook calendar to organize yourself or your team around activities, tasks, and deliverables due by projects, customer, or week number. Simply write a task on a sticky note and affix it to the PlayBook in the week number that it’s DUE. Now you can take step-by-step requirements and calendarize them for execution. The 20 x 30 inch wall saver PlayBook is included with the Big Idea Toolkit.  For those that are sporting more wall space and want to build a bigger plan there is the larger format edition of the PlayBook, 24 x 44 inches, sold separately.

Move beyond your ordinary wall planner. Get the PlayBook calendar and go from “to-do” to “done.”

Category : Blog

When your ‘What if…’ is worth pursuing

Wouldn’t it be cool if …

 

cars with false securityI ask that “What if…” question often. Most people have and do ask that question or some variation of it. Most don’t do anything about it, but those we label entrepreneurs are the doers with courage enough to set themselves apart from the herd of dreamers.

I’m an entrepreneur. In my last software business, I was the first investor. I spent $25,000 of my hard earned after tax dollars. I did this so that an adviser and another strategic investor would feel comfortable investing too. They didn’t ask to see the roadmap or seek to see the Big Picture. They simply sought comfort much like a tailgater in a long line of cars in stormy weather. It wasn’t any safer but the co-investment had the illusion of security.

Prior to that I was an intrapreneur. I worked for a company that spent in excess of $1,000,000 developing a product that we later found out was promised to the customer at a price below the company’s cost. Once that little fact was revealed the project was shut down and the executive responsible, ushered to the door. But, before our project was permanently put on hold, many of us had been feverishly working on the hardware, software, and industrial design, crafting what we thought was going to be a new reality for our customer and for our company.

In both of these scenarios the conversation should have been very different, but it wasn’t. It turns out the tools to have a better conversation weren’t that great at the time.

More PowerPoints and more spreadsheets and drinking from the same Kool-Aid didn’t produce a better truth or a better outcome.

I fear that the more hyperconnected we become, with faster, better, now, it seems that we get further from the underlying need to have a great conversation. Perhaps, we don’t want to know the truth; we rather like illusion.

One great use of the Big Idea Toolkit is to fully explore and communicate the Big Idea. Remember, if your big idea can’t be proved out using the Big Idea Toolkit and sticky notes, then it won’t prove out with real customers either. It might be that you spend $249.95 on visual communications tools like the Big Idea Toolkit but, ultimately you save much more than that and much heartache and time along the way.

I’ve advised many executives and entrepreneurs and the ones that make a bigger impact are the ones that slow down, in order to speed up.

If after purchasing the Big idea Toolkit, you need some facilitation or coaching, please let me know. If I don’t have time available, I’ll at least recommend another coach.  Good luck entrepreneurs and doers!

Category : Blog

Try to Unthink that Thought – Just Try

debbie faas golden nugget paintingA friend of mine, Chuck Frey wrote an article about the Painter’s Technique a while ago. It really resonated with me so I commented on it.  It has doubly resonated with me over the last week since my artist friend Debbie Faas validated the painter’s technique is in fact a real phenomena that she experiences.  She knows firsthand since she just lived a 5 and 1/2 week painting journey commissioned  by a Seattle technology company.   I also had the opportunity to share the Big Idea Toolkit in a Tools roundtable with the local chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants.  In that discussion, every person in the room realized that ideas come at times sometimes inconvenient, even the day after your big strategic plan is completed.

What do you do with a good idea that comes at the wrong time?

Simply put – you cannot unthink a thought.  Your brain will continue to wrestle with it, good or bad even without your trying.  Mike Dooley notes this in his email signature of his daily Notes from the Universe where  he says, Thoughts become things…choose the good ones.

In the Big Idea Toolkit, this is precisely why we have a PlayGround.  When you get an idea, put in in the PlayGround.  Whether it advances immediately or ever, the brain will continue to build on it and create new possibilities.  If your PlayGround is shared with others, ideas pay dividends. Chuck’s original article appears here.

the PlayGround from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.Here is my comment on his article restated.   I hope this inspires you to create and share your PlayGround.

Chuck, this article really resonates with me. I am a big believer in the power of visual thinking. Like John Medina says in Brain Rules with Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.  I use mind mapping software to organize and see connections when I’m working alone. But when I’m collaborating with others, need to work quickly and communicate or see the Big Picture, then I use tools from the Big Idea Toolkit. http://www.thebigideatoolkit.com This has the added advantaged of the large format (20 x 30 inch visuals), multiple real time input (everybody on the team can write on a sticky note), and spatial adjacency (I can see each poster/board at the same time) . I like computers and all things digital but there is a time to be digital and a time to be in the real world – which is and always has been analog. @markjl – yes big hand drawn = better.

The painters technique really makes sense to me. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison solved problems by cat napping similarly. It allows your brain to continue to work on things while you’re away. There is a related powerful phenomena – spatial adjacency. Think of an art gallery experience that unfolds as you enter each room. Each passage you enter reveals a new splash of style and color. You naturally do a quick scan before your eye settles in on something of interest. Compare this experience to the same art being presented slide by slide in a PowerPoint presentation. In the former the brain benefits from spatial adjacency and in the latter suffers from the lack thereof. If you want to imagine yourself to better possibilities you need to get bigger, and get adjacent. Then, let the painter technique unfold as you seemingly “check out” for a while from one piece and then “check back in” to the canvas of your choosing.

Category : Blog

Eliminate Last Minute Surprises at Your Next Event

the Game Plan -Delightability LLCEvents are great, but…

Celebrating, educating, fundraising, no matter what the objectives, there are many great reasons for having a successful event, but it can be complicated by last minute surprises. As an event planner you want a better way to get you and your team organized and not let things fall through the cracks.

Eliminate Blind Spots

Checklists and templates are good to insure against over confidence, but fail to make sure everybody is on the same page and don’t eliminate blind spots. Unless there is a Big Picture to connect it all, people will get lost, you’ll burn precious time and your event will not live up to its potential.

Better Events with the big Idea ToolkitYou can’t do it Alone

A better way to plan and execute events is to use the Big Idea Toolkit, a large format visual planning system that helps teams to capture ideas, get better organized, and ensure excellence in execution.

To ensure your next event lives up to its potential, download the free Poster.

This large Poster shows how the using the step by step approach of the Big Idea Toolkit ensures your next event will lives up to its potential.

Category : Blog

About Us

Like you we get ideas. We are all idea people. The Big Idea Toolkit was born out of our recognition that people have ideas but get stuck at all stages of bringing those ideas to life. We hope you find this toolkit and site gives you a nudge, a process to follow, and inspiration to make your ideas a reality. Thank you to our clients who told us - "You guys should make this a product available to others." We are Delightability, LLC and we believe if you Delight Customers - Success will Follow. more..

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If you have questions or need some help please email us or call us at (206) 356-8811