success

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

If you Want to Remember More Stuff, then Create More Brain Hooks

The more connections you can give a new memory to things already remembered in your brain, the more likely it is your are going to remember that new memory. I call these Brain Hooks. Think of it as Velcro for the brain. The brain is a natural pattern making machine. When you can tap into the pattern it is easier to recall something “without thinking.” That is why it is easier for an adult that cooks to remember items on a common recipe when at the grocery store as opposed to their teenage son who hasn’t cooked or shopped much at all. The adult can recreate the cooking and shopping experiences and “recall” the item stowed tidily in their head. They are pulling from various connections and patterns whereas the teenager hasn’t yet built those connections.

Image of the Wall that Seperates us from our Intended Destination - from the Experience Design BLUEPRINTBut, when the teenage boy sees the cute girl in the store, a different pattern emerges. When this happens, he’ll surely have to text mom for the items he’s already forgotten. To learn more on what we know about the brain, check out the book, “Brain Rules,” by John Medina.  Building brain hooks is the subject of Recipe #46 in Chapter 11: Barriers to Innovation and Overcoming the Wall in my book, “The Experience Design BLUEPRINT: Recipes for Creating Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations.”  If you want to design more remarkable experiences and then make them come true, check out the book. It is chock full of 25 examples, 56 recipes, and 78 images that will guide you or your team toward creating a better tomorrow.

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

A Dozen Reasons you Need a Lightweight Business Planning Tool Like the Big Idea Toolkit

hand with sticky notes and the big idea toolkit logoIt doesn’t matter if you are gainfully employed and need to explore the newest path to revenue,  a solo-preneur forging your way in a terrible economy, or a wanna-preneur that’s contemplating starting a business, you need a way to flesh out and communicate ideas and to build a simple plan. I’m not talking about the dusty templates that litter the Internet and application software by the droves. I’m talking about crafting something that lives beyond your bound document, something more dynamic, that connects to customers, a calendar, your livelihood and purpose. For that, you need something like the Big Idea Toolkit. Sure, I’m biased, after all I created the toolkit. But, I did say something “like.” The point is the world moves quickly and you need to as well. I’ll bet on the pony that running the race as opposed to the one in the stable that’s still working up the race plan.

Remember if you don’t continuously innovate in a sea of change, you could get BlockBuster’d out of business.

 

Here are a dozen reasons to use a Lightweight Business Planning Tool like the Big Idea Toolkit

 

    1. You need to quickly convince yourself and others you’re idea is worth following
    2. Your plan will need to evolve once you get started
    3. You need to continue to show visible progress to stay motivated
    4. You need to capture ideas that will come at times inconvenient and from unlikely sources
    5. You’ll want to explore quickly the opportunities that you can reliably act upon
    6. Your applied actions in the marketplace speak louder than your stagnant words buried in a plan
    7. To stay sane, you’ll need a system to balance delivering value, promotion, operations, and a personal life
    8. Opportunities will pass you by if you take too long to act
    9. You’ll need to observe, listen, and learn from customers
    10. If it’s worth doing, you probably need to enroll others
    11. You’ll need to run experiments to test ideas for value
    12. You need a plan that gives the opportunity to build better habits and practice because practice makes perfect, not training
    13. You’ll need to hold yourself accountability or involve somebody else that will

Oops that’s 13.  Oh yeah, and you can’t be superstitious either because black cats need love too and your biases will ultimately limit your opportunity.  Remember technology will not save you and the timing goddess will ultimately decide your fate. If you don’t believe this talk to those that are graduating from college now as opposed to the lucky grads that carved their way ahead of the dot com bubble burst.

Remember the marketplace will punish paralysis by analysis and the big formal unseen plan more than it will the action junkie that has more conversations and creates sustainable customer value sooner. Find a balance and pray for the timing goddess to cast a shining light upon you.

Category : Blog

Productive living is about project management not time management

The thing about time is it will pass you by, whether you are busy, idle, wholly aware of it, or completely oblivious to the seconds ticking on.

Ultimately, we all suffer from time poverty because the number of hours in the day are fixed. Like the law of conservation of energy – energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form, we can’t create more time we can only make it useful by what we do with the time we have.

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”  Benjamin Franklin

We care about time management because we are trying to cram more things done into the little time we all have.

The key to getting more stuff done is to have the right mental models, tools, and processes in place. Highly productive people aren’t necessarily lucky or smarter than you, they simply have built better habits. You’ll need better habits, no matter which system you adopt or invent.

Most people don’t manage complex projects with huge risks that need to be mitigated, involve many stakeholders, or have project life cycles that span years and geographies. Luckily, for most of us life isn’t that complicated. Most of us have to simply juggle between our various personal and professional actions, deliverables, to-dos, and calendar events. The trouble is it isn’t that simple and one tool probably won’t do the trick.

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”  Henry David Thoreau

Here is an assortment of tools and principles that I find useful and how I use them.

Image of Calendars, Planning, and Electronic Organization Tools put in perspective - Delightability LLC

The Distracting Idea

First Principle – Ideas often come at inconvenient times.
Tool I use – I separate ideas from execution using the PlayGround to capture ideas and the PlayBook to document what I’ve committed to. Periodically I review all ideas and then decide if I’ll add them to my PlayBook. I don’t let the “idea du jour” distract me from what I’ve already committed to.

Sight-line to the Future

The PlayBook is where I track the next 90 days or so by week. I show all of my major events, milestones, and the deliverables that I need to create or big actions I’ll need to track. It is fast and uses sticky notes so I can reconfigure it if I change priorities. I have a more granular view on my paper calendar but the PlayBook keeps me tracking to my overall plan and most importantly, makes work visible.

Good old Fashioned Calendar with a Twist

In addition to the PlayBook calendar, I also use an electronic calendar. In my case I use Google calendar on the computer and my phone. Because the electronic calendar is poorly configured, not instantly glance-able and lacks the “doodle” factor I also carry a printed calendar that I can capture notes on or affix a sticky note to. I have a paper calendar for each week and also note the week number. This is a feature you can turn on in Google calendar by the way.

Making Communications Visible is Key

I configure SMS alerts for reminders tied to my electronic calendar. I also use Highrise as a CRM tool to track prospects and assign future f/u tasks which are emailed to me as a reminder. But, for the week I’m in I print a communication/follow-up sheet. This sheet shows the person I need to follow up with, what I need to provide them, and whether the communications will be phone, face-to-face, email, or direct mail. If you meet many people you are likely creating a card graveyard on your desk. I was too, before I adopted this system.

Print or Electronic?

Second Principle – the best answer is usually “It Depends.”
If you use your phone as your calendar and you are talking on your phone then you are blind to your calendar. If you need to add a note, do it directly in your printed calendar, so you don’t have to write it down twice. Also, in the event your phone is in need of a charge, you’ll still have your weekly plan, right there in plain sight.

Spatial Adjacency is Good for your Brain

If you keep your old calendars and communication/follow-up sheets you’ll be able to review them at a glance while eating breakfast or celebrating a job well done. Your brain will likely recognize patterns and see new connections. These insights will spawn additional ideas and you’ll know what to do with them because you read this post and followed the First Principle above.

This may seem like a lot of items but if you build a success system and good habits to reinforce your system, then it will be more natural to use it than to operate randomly, poorly execute, suffer from time poverty, and ultimately didn’t-get-it-done-itis.

Learn more at the Big Idea Toolkit website and blog.

Category : Blog

Pies, Pants, and PlayBooks -Will Your 2012 be any Different?

Seems we arethe PlayBook -Delightability LLC all busy making plans to do something different. You may have plans to work off grandmothers pumpkin pie, get ahead at work, or spend more time volunteering. We purchase calendars, wall planners, and gym memberships – anything to help us reach our goals.

the PlayBook -Delightabiity LLCIf you are looking to get more accomplished in 2012, you may want to start by replacing your planning calendar with the PlayBook. You can keep on doing the same old thing, but you’ll not likely fit into a slimmer pair of pants.

To make a bigger impact you need the courage and conviction to try something different. Get started in the right direction. Take the challenge, compare your calendar to the PlayBook and select the tool that will make your 2012 a success.

Category : Blog

Does Your High Performing Team Have a Different Mental Space for Ideas and Execution?

The highest performing teams don’t need “team building” events because they are already a higher performing team doing the many little things that make the team flow and work well together. Like a good Jazz trio they have a rough plan but can improvise and work off of each other as necessary. Resorting to trust falls and wailing on each other with padded sticks won’t make a low performing team soar.

We’ve found that high performing teams are fully engaged and have a different mental space for dealing with ideas versus working the execution of the plan. We’ve incorporated these realities into the Big Idea Toolkit by including a PlayGround and PlayBooks.

the PlayGround from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC.The PlayGround is where high performing teams capture and share ideas. Embrace the notion that ideas can come from anywhere and will often come at times inconvenient. If you still boast an annual planning cycle then you’re probably blind to the best idea which may come the days following the completion of your annual planning. Being blind to ideas that could move your company forward can be detrimental and may serve to disengage the employee or partner whose ideas are ignored. Funny psychological thing is, it is more important to have your idea captured and heard than actually implemented. People like to be heard, respected, and valued. Ignore this reality and you are a dead brand walking.

You know the old adage, ideas are a dime a dozen. Well, in the internet age, they’re actually even cheaper, they’re free. Ideas are great but unless acted on they’ll make no impact in the real world. That is what the PlayBook is for.

Publishing a shared PlayBook reminds a high performing team what they have committed to.

Publishing a shared PlayBook reminds a high performing team what they have committed to. Shared commitment and visibility are prerequisites for excellence in execution. Actions, deliverables, owners, and dates provide the team with clarity on the who, what, and when of execution. Using a weekly 4-Square Personal Action plan further individualizes the PlayBook deliverables so each team member knows what they are doing each step along the way.the PlayBook with a High Performing Team - from the Big Idea Toolkit - Delightability, LLC

Using the PlayGround and PlayBooks helps a team to form productive habits that will help them to make a bigger impact in the world. Use them alone or as part of the complete Big Idea Toolkit and pretty soon, your higher performing team will be celebrating yet another win. And… when you do if you want to celebrate with some trust falls or a stick fight, more power to you.

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

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