Planning the Work Day Like Planning a Home Build

Recently my boss asked a question and shared some insight that made me rethink how I’m planning my days. He made me wonder how often my plan was more of a “to do” list vs. a real strategic plan.

My boss has been involved in a few home builds over the years and with a home build there is always plan. The crew is expected to show up on the site and have a list of projects they plan to complete so the build can go as planned.  They are expected to have the “know how” and the strategy for getting the days projects done.

That makes sense when building a house. I don’t have to be a builder to know we can’t start painting until the walls go up, can’t put the walls up if the foundation isn’t done and can’t do much of any of it if all if the permits haven’t been approved. There’s an order to the process.

It frustrated him that sometimes a worker would show up on the site, grab the first tool the came across on the site and start working on various tasks with that tool without checking the plan for the day.

It’s easy to see how this could be frustrating. By not checking the plan, prioritizing what needed to be done, this worker could be lost in random tasks that kept him busy but didn’t necessarily help accomplish the most important projects of the day. It could also put others behind in their work, or at least frustrate co-workers because they now have to pick up the slack. We could spend the day working hard on tasks that yield very little results in terms of moving the project along toward the completed vision.

If we look at the work day or work week like a home build, how many more priority projects would we finish?

Just by watching HGTV and Love It or List It I know that Home building/rebuilding involves:

  • Having a vision of what the finished project looks like
  • Setting goals
  • Planning a Budget
  • Finding a location (land or house)
  • Building a team and making the vision clear to them
  • More planning (the vision of the whole home broken down in to individual jobs that must be done in a specific order
  • Back up plans for when things don’t go exactly according to plan
  • Working the plan (or back up plan)
  • Rechecking the project, paying extra attention to small details–yes it matters to the home owner and in the case of a work project, it matters to the stakeholders

Managers have yearly goals that are broken down to quarterly, monthly and weekly goals, but how often are we planning the day like a project itself?

Listening to my boss’ observation and now thinking about my day in terms of having a vision and strategy for it, prioritizing what has to be accomplished, and clearly communicatig the plan has me rethinking my planning process.

It also has me evaluating how much more detail and strategy I need to bring to my habit of daily planning–not just for my work day but all aspects of my life.

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