That is the phrase my mother always used when we would start telling her what we were going to do that day growing up. “Tell me your thought process for the day Josh,” or “What’s your thought process?” She was a Regional Retail Operations Manager for a large company, and her territory was from Maine down to Florida and at points in her career as far out west as past the Mississippi river. It was excellent to learn a lot from my mother all about the big world of business, and especially take a lot of her managerial and leadership experiences first hand and learn from them.
The importance of a “Thought Process” to my mother, and subsequently to myself, was outlining what we wanted to accomplish that day. It was a way my mother help kept tabs on what my siblings and I wanted to do, where we were going to be, and how we were going to do it. For me, it was a way of starting off my day with an idea as to what I wanted to accomplish that day. It was our way of thinking of an action plan for the day, a plan of attack, or just basically a spoken planner for the day.
Having a thought process has helped me organize my time and efforts throughout the years, and I still use it to this day. It is an important aspect every time I visit home from Vacationland, because there are so many people I want to visit and see, and so little time to accomplish all of it almost every time. Making plans and sticking to them for the day, weekend, month or year is one way to get ahead and begin to succeed in life. All it takes is just a little thought, think of what is important and what time frame you want to accomplish these tasks in, and then put the plan in motion.
Here is a quick and easy 4 step process to help you begin putting your Thought Process in place. It helps to write everything down as you go, but as you get accustomed to it, it is not necessary.
- Think of what you want to accomplish that day, first thing in the morning. This is the vital first step. What do you have to accomplish that day? What meetings and appointments do you have. Who do you have to talk to or see? What else do you want to accomplish.
- Rank these items from most important to least important. Pretty self explanatory, but a great way to rank them is first based upon most important (A, B or C groups) and then rank out your groups (A1, A2, A3… B1, B2, etc).
- Plan the time allotted for each item, and when you can accomplish the task. This will give you an idea of when these need to be done, and how long they will take. You can then schedule accordingly.
- Speak out loud your plan, then stick to it. Most people don’t realize the power of speaking a plan out loud and what that can do to your motivation. This will help you more times than not stick to your Thought Process.
Note, you cannot truly plan out every single minute of every day. It will overwhelm you trying to figure out what you will do down to the minute. The Thought Process is set up to help you organize the larger items you want to accomplish that day, and when you will accomplish them. Leave time for interruptions, or for tasks to take longer than you expect. When I visit with friends, I always allot more time to them than when I plan on answering emails, because my priority that day is usually to build and strengthen my relationships as opposed to checking emails on vacation.
Question: How do you set up your Thought Process in the morning to get organized and started for the day? Do you have a Thought Process the night before?