write-593333_640A few years ago one of my colleagues at Microsoft used to say this all the time.

“Working my plan.”

He said it matter-of-factly and without much fanfare.

This is what he would say every time someone asked him:

  • How’s it going?
  • What’s going on?
  • Or, What are you working on?

Initially I thought this might’ve just been a passive aggressive behavior. Which is all too common in the workplace – especially at tech companies. However, as I got to know him better I found out that that really was the way he got things done. He planned. And, he planned some more. Then he focused on execution of his plan.

Is this the only way to get things done?

Of course, the answer is no.

If You Don’t Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will
~ Greg McKeown, Author of Essentialism

The point here is that having a plan is important. Even if those plans go awry at times there’s still a plan in place to manage the overall goals and to get back on track.

Will plan to go sideways at times?

Of course they will. That’s the nature of a plan. However, if you didn’t have a plan in place you wouldn’t know that your plans have gone sideways. Think about that for a moment.

If you don’t know where you are going,
any road will get you there
~ Lewis Carroll

What are some tips and tricks for creating viable plans?

Everyone has some ideas of what their plans and goals are. However, not everyone has a concrete, specific and measurable way of developing, managing, and executing on those plans.

Here are Three Things to Keep In Mind:

  1. TIME Management – Three Tips to Get More Time In Your Day
  2. Just Say No – The Response You are Searching for is NO
  3. Don’t forget the metrics:

What gets measured gets done.”
~ Tom Peters

There are a lot of ways to define what your goals are. One of the most common way to define goals, especially for those that are new to the working world, is to let your manager tell you what your goals are. That’s not a terrible strategy, but it’s not a long-term strategy.

Consider this HBR article from Greg McKeown “Prioritize Your Life Before Your Manager Does It for You” and think about the viability of YOUR career before kowtowing to everything your manager might ask. Remember, they have an agenda too.

Also, keep this in mind from the legendary management thinker and guru, Peter Drucker.

“Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”

As you plan and think about your career the way you’re going to stand out is by developing your own ability to create a plan and execute it effectively. Which means selecting the things that interest you. It means knowing what you want AND what you don’t want. It also means you need to have the backbone to stand against things that you know don’t add value.

Remember … the goal is to Stand Out in YOUR Career.

In order to do this you will want to Work Your Plan / Plan Your Work.