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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

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

Daily Flight Plan to Boost Personal Productivity

image of daily flight plan for delighting customersDo you wake up in the morning knowing exactly what you will do for the rest of the day?  Are you insulated from interruptions that will thwart your plans today?  Do you go for days on end and then realize there was something you’ve neglected, perhaps you’re forgetting about a customer or conversation, or some operational aspect of your business, or maybe just some “me” time, paying a bill, or phoning a friend.  These are exactly the reasons you need to have a daily flight plan.  Use it to improve your personal velocity and maximize your impact while getting iconic cues and reminders to not forget your customers – the reason you have a business in the first place.  If you are an entrepreneur and don’t yet have customers for your new venture – then this has even more importance.  Place the flight plan over your mouse pad, in your notebook, or somewhere on your desk to record your top actions, capture ideas and sketch as needed.  The flight plan includes a few guiding principles, a 3 month weekly calendar and icons to remind you of the 3 legged stool, 3 funnels, and touch points.  To learn more about those items read the original article.

Visit the Feedback and Learning page to download the full size PDFs for free.

Price = FREE with registration.  Have fun and get more important stuff done.

Category : Blog

Business as Unusual: If you Want a Different Outcome, then you Need to Do Something Different

Do you have a place to capture  ideas and free your mind?

Do you have a “system” to move things forward?

Do you have a way to get organized and break projects down into manageable pieces?

sticky note - get more organized from he Big Idea Toolkit, Delightability, LLC.If you answered yes to these questions, great.  But, most people employ tools and tactics, like faith, scratch paper, random sticky notes, whiteboards, and a various paper and electronic calendars.

Some people even reduce the amount of things they do, striking a balance between what they can remember and what they feel they can get done.   That’s all well and good until you need or want to do more at work or at home.  You don’t want to be that person that says the all too common excuse, “But I don’t have time.”   We all suffer from time poverty but, some people get more done, while others let time and opportunity pass them by.

If you want to be highly productive, then you’ll need a new approach to getting organized and getting things done.

With more time you could plan a party, write a book, get a new job, make a career change, relocate or move, get involved in the community, solve a nagging problem, invent something, remodel your office or home, start a business, start a blog, learn a language, spend more time with family, write a program, plan a major vacation, run for office, write an initiative, host an event, relax,  master a new sport, supercharge a non-profit, volunteer, make and then do your bucket list.

But nobody can give you more time.  You’re still stuck with 24 hours each day, so to free up time for important things, you’ll need to better utilize the time you have every single day.

That’s why we created the Big Idea Toolkit, so you can get more important stuff done, whether that is for you, your family, at work or in your community.  If you want different outcomes and you want to be a highly productive “doer” then you need a new approach.

Watch the introductory video for the Big Idea Toolkit.  Questions? Please comment or contact us.

Category : Blog

Keys? Got it. Phone? Got it. 4-Square Personal Action Plan? Yes, Got that too!

clear path forward with the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.
No doubt you’ve experienced that naked just left the house without your pants feeling. “Wait, no I have my pants on. Oh yeah – I forgot my keys and where did I put my phone?”

When you don’t get important stuff done in your life and time passes you by, you similarly suffer. Even worse, you effect others around you. When you are a slouch, important things remain undone. You feel unproductive and fill your time with whatever, no matter its impact or quality. Stop that!

If you want to lead a more productive life and reduce the stress and expense of living randomly then use the 4-Square Personal Action plan.

Once you begin using the 4-Square Personal Action plan you’ll breathe a little easier, reduce stress, and positively contribute to those important things in your life, whatever they may be. You will find that you’ll have even more time to pick up the new sport, volunteer at that nonprofit, play music, visit friends, or write that book that’s been brewing in your mind.

Example 4-Square Personal Action plan from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.The 4-Square Personal Action plan is a free download. It is part of the Big Idea Toolkit but we’ve made it available to you whether or not you use the entire toolkit.
Using it can save you time, money, gas, relationships, and get you closer to where you want to go, no matter where that is.

Having your weekly todos (deliverables) visible will help to ensure they are top of mind and actually get accomplished. Your brain wants to see things and your inner emotional elephant is motivated when you make visible progress. That is why we feel good when we check things off the todo list.

When we see our “to do” list transform into a “to done” list is motivating and serves as fuel to get even more done. So print out your 4-Square, whether or not you’re using the entire toolkit and begin the highly productive habit of creating the weekly 4-Square Personal Action plan and reviewing it daily. Take it with you, review it often, and get more important stuff done. Oh yeah, one more thing… please remember your keys.

Category : Blog

Your Big Idea – Stop Dabbling and Start Making an Impact

idea lightbulb cup and conversation - the Big Idea Toolkit from Delightability, LLC.I want to share a fresh perspective to the thinking that appeared  in a recent New York Times opinion piece, titled The Elusive Big Idea.

Most people are not deep thinkers anymore.  I believe this to be especially true of the younger generations that can find all of the answers (right or wrong) on Google and text Mom, Dad, or a friend first and think for themselves second.

Our ipods and pads, crackberries and computers have not solved basic human problems that exist in families, the work place, and communities. While our devices and social networks can connect us to more people, across more geographies and across time, they are not a substitute for thinking, great conversation, and taking action.  For that you need to step away from the computer screen, be a better storyteller, and have better conversations.

As Morpheus said in The Matrix, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

We all see the possibilities for improvement at work, in our associations, club, non-profits, churches, government and even our families.  But, too many ideas are not fleshed out with good authentic dialogue and many more are stillborn, never to take shape or have their impact felt in the world.  We need better tools and a new approach.

This is what in part, spurred us to create the Big Idea Toolkit.  The Toolkit helps you to get organized so you can get more important stuff done and make a bigger impact, whether that is for you, your family, work, or your community. It is intentionally designed to force dialogue and leverages the way our brains do their most innovative work.

the Big Idea Toolkit - How it Works - from Delightability, LLC.Whether you work alone or in a group the Big Idea Toolkit gives you a place to:

  • capture ideas
  • get organized
  • execute

The Big Idea Toolkit provides a common big picture with a clear path forward and a playbook of what to do next that keeps everybody motivated and moving forward. Using it or something like it is your best chance to make an impact and realize the possibilities.  So, whether your idea is a big one or a small one doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you makes its impact felt in the world.

Good luck – there is much to make better in this world.

Category : Blog

the PlayGround – Making the Invisible Visible to Get More Done


example of the Playground from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.Chances are you have something wonderful tucked inside your computer – your big idea.  If your anything like me, you’ve started many idea files.  Chances are you’ve also written something down on a scrap of paper, sticky note, or back of the napkin that at the time was of prime importance.  You might have even interrupted a person you were talking to or abruptly stopped what you were doing to write it down, saying “This is a great one, hold on hold on, I’ve got to write this down before I lose it.”

And then… you don’t do anything.  The file gets saved to some weird recess of the computer that made sense at the time and the paper idea morsel goes somewhere, perhaps you’ll discover it later. Whatever that great thing was gets lost, only to be randomly and luckily recalled someday, if at all.

“Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable.”
Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher, statesman, spy, Freemason and essayist (1561 – 1626).

After all, inspiration has expiration and if you don’t make it visible, the great idea or initiative gets wafted into the corner of your computer or mind never seeing the light of day.  Sadly, no matter how great that momentary inspiration was, if it’s not acted on, will have no impact in the world – not for you and not for others.

Part of having a mind at ease is knowing you have place to stow and recall such ideas.  Everybody should have their own personal Innovation PlayGround – that place where ideas live.  And you don’t want that to be invisible.  You want to put you mind at ease then create a visible PlayGround that you can affix ideas to.  If you get an idea, write it on a sticky note and stick in in the PlayGround.  Get an idea related to another idea – great, lump those together.  Funny thing is, if you see these ideas in your PlayGround over and over again, you’re brain will continue to work on them, even when it seems like you’re not.  So if you want to get more stuff done in this world, then unhide your ideas and get them into the PlayGround.  Your brain will thank you and so will those you someday impact.

 


Category : Blog

4 Reasons You Don’t Move Forward – and How to Overcome

In spite of inspirational songs like “Live Like Your Were Dying” and movies like “The Bucket List”, most people won’t act until its too late.  They’ll continue to let opportunities pass them by, only to be realized by others.  Truth is, those “others” aren’t any smarter, but they do have better habits.  Here is how to level the playing field and get your fare share of opportunities. Know thyself.  Understand the reason you don’t move forward and then make a choice to either overcome it or accept it.

If you’re going to be a slouch you should at least be an informed intentional slouch.

And if you are a “doer” then perhaps it’s your duty to help somebody else get out of their own way.

As part of my book research, I’ve been asking people from all walks of life now for some time what holds them back from whatever it is their wanting to do.  I’ve heard several different flavors of answers, but they can be summarized by the list of 4 below.  If you really have a reason you believe doesn’t fit to these 4 please chime in.  I’d love to know.

#4 – values or beliefs are not in alignment

You might recognize this as  “I’ve reluctantly signed up to do something” or “You were really good at coercing me but I never really was committed.”  This reason is usually cited when we don’t move forward on somebody else’s idea or initiative.  You simply don’t believe in “the cause” or the value of getting it done.  Reaching the final destination doesn’t resonate with you so much.   Sometimes people want to fantasize about reaching the Utopian end state but they don’t really have any intention of doing any real work or making a contribution.  If you find yourself in this camp saying “work – that is for the others,” or “a person should… “, then some intellectual honesty is in order.  Simply come to grips that you are a fantasy doer or know what you value and stop committing without follow through.

#3 – lack of resources

This oft cited paralyzer is a Red Herring easily spotted by asking yourself or others what resources are needed.  Then systematically break down and eliminate each resource needed – this is an obstacle removal technique.  Many problems can be reframed to requires a different set of resources, those within reach.  Also, there are those resources that you don’t have now and those that you don’t have in the future. Solve today’s problem today and tomorrows problems tomorrow.

#2 – fear or lack of courage

This reason for inaction is more easily understood when the person not moving forward is part of a larger social context.  When you have to rally the herd and get others moving there is a certain risk that goes along with that.  It is much easier to not lead the way, blend into the crowd, and wait for somebody else to take a risk and be responsible.  This is a well researched and documented area of social psychology called the bystander effect. But when others are not involved,  it become squarely about you.  You may have been conditioned to fear failure or you’re in an environment where failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

Failure can actually be a good thing, especially in small doses.  That’s what experiments and prototypes are for!  I worked in the Boeing Wind Tunnel for 5 years. We ran many experiments to detect failure and make improvements at a small scale because the human and financial costs of mistakes at scale are so enormous.

Besides failure, some people also fear the destination of success and all its accoutrements.  To overcome inaction and to combat many of the subconscious and conditioned avoidance behaviors it is good to create new habits.  You can easily do this by adopting a habit practice sheet (free download) and by creating conscious action triggers.   Action triggers can have a profound power to motivate people to do the things they need to do.   The reason, according to Peter Gollwitzer, a New York University psychologist, is that action triggers eliminate the need for conscious deliberation by making people “pre-decide” what they are going to do.  In this they program themselves to protect goals from tempting distractions, bad habits, or competing goals.

an example of the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.#1 – lack of clarity

By far this is the most popular reason people don’t move forward that I’ve encountered. They simply don’t know how to get started or what the next step is.  They are overwhelmed by the myriad of choices and possibilities.  You can hear them saying to themself, “Where to start, where to start.”  They may be so overwhelmed they are unable to articulate what they want or think they need.  Often, others have trouble helping people in this state – instead they usually prefer to give them time and space to “get it together.”  Creating the Big Picture can go a long way toward unlocking what the brain already knows but is unable to express.  Sequencing your Big Idea into Chunky Steps along a path with a clear vision of the payoff seems so simple… and it is. But have you actually done it? You want to create your next “Aha” moment, give it a whirl.  Better yet, help somebody else do the same.

Category : Blog

Do you Have an Idea Worth Laughing At?

The list is long of ideas that people laughed at.  Some were small and some were noteworthy game changers that we can’t imagine living without today.  Whether you have a game changing idea or a little idea that could make your own corner of the world just a little bit better, it won’t take flight if you don’t take action.

Whether, you use the entire Big Idea Toolkit, the PlayGround or an idea tattoo on your face to remind you daily, you should dust off your idea and get going. Interesting thing about your brain and motivation – once you begin, it easier to keep going.

Recording sound, Flight, Rockefeller Center, Cotton Gin,  Steamboat, Chocolate Bars, Gourmet Cupcakes, Coffee Experience, Groupon, Car Sharing, Drunks Delivered, Craigslist, Your Idea?

If the list doesn’t inspire you hopefully this song does, or at least entertains you.

Reach for the moon or the top shelf but reach for something.

Ella & Louis – They All Laughed (1957)

 

Category : Blog

Work Smarter with Freelancers, Consultants and Agencies

the Big Picture from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.
As a business or team leader, you outsource some functions to gain the expertise or resources of other freelancers, consultants and agencies.  You also outsource these people so they are not a constant drain on your payroll.  So one way or another when you do meet up the clock is ticking.  You can’t afford to be stuck, spinning your wheels, and returning to the beginning conversation.  Unless you’re an army of one, you’ll also likely need to communicate and enroll others that weren’t part of the initial discussion. The Audience, The Situation, and the Big Picture used together will go a long way toward getting on the same page. Use it yourself your ask others to use these tools to speed your learning, gain some clarity, and stop wasting time. Tick Tock Tick Tock

 

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