One of the key functions of a successful person is their ability to manage the day-to-day while simultaneously thinking about tomorrow. It’s harder than it seems. There are so many demands on time at the moment that we often become engrossed in it and forget about what comes next.

For example:

>Entrepreneurs need to be thinking about who their next client is even when they are busy working for their current customer.

>Project managers need to plan ahead as to what supplies they will need before they go to reach for them.

>Supervisors must be developing strategy and acquiring resources long before their staff will need to implement the plans.

Consider the techniques that you can use to help yourself think longer term in the midst of short-term busyness. Maybe it’s a desk calendar that displays the following month or a multi-month calendar on your wall. Perhaps it is a Gantt chart or software display of future deadlines. It could be a journal that allows for dreaming, or a weekly planning meeting that shifts the focus to the coming weeks instead of today.

No matter your method, you need to follow the mantra of the West Wing’s President Jed Bartlet and ask yourself “what’s next?” – not just about what is in the next moment, but for the long-term moments after that. If you’re the leader (of yourself or your organization), your job description is the only one that includes thinking about tomorrow.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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