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Planning and organising


Everyone has dreams and goals, but without planning and organising what you need to do, you'll get nowhere. It's exactly the same in the workplace, where planning and organisational skills regularly rank in the top ten most desirable employability skills.

What is planning and organising?

Action planning is a process which helps you to focus your ideas and decide on the steps you need to take in order to achieve a particular goal. Planning is vital at all levels in the workplace. You need to plan your own tasks and time. Your manager will need to plan the tasks, resources and time required of your department. Senior management will need to plan the goals and aims of the company as a whole.

As the saying goes - "failing to plan is planning to fail".

Why are organising and planning skills important in the workplace?

Employers need you to have planning skills because they need to be able to let you break down the tasks they give you into manageable chunks. A task that is supposed to take five years to complete becomes much more doable if you have a target to achieve every three months.

Planning is used at all levels in the workplace, from how you break up your day-to-day tasks to the aims of the company on a yearly basis.

Organisation is also used to ensure that the right people with the right skills end up working on the projects that best suit them and the needs of the company.

Planning and organising skills have grown in importance for tech employers as more and more businesses move to adopt agile working practices which rely heavily on task management and empowerment.

The better your ability to plan and organise, the more likely you are to be hired.

How can you demonstrate planning and organisational skills?

You can show your planning abilities on your CV or at interview in many ways, including:

  • Planning an essay or piece of writing

  • Explaining how you organised a meeting or event

  • If you've been on a gap year, detailing the planning that went into organising your trip

  • How you achieved a goal in a part-time job

Good planning and organisation skills for your CV

If you are applying for a job that has specifically asked for strong planning and organising skills, there are numerous skills you can drop into your CV to show you match their requirements. Some of these include:

  • Goal setting

  • Setting deadlines

  • Delegating to others

  • Establish priorities

  • Identify critical tasks

  • Strong communication skills

  • Team leadership

  • Showing ability to use planning / organisation tools

  • Project/Programme management

  • Decision making

  • Estimate time and effort required to complete a task

  • Teamwork

  • Ability to adapt

  • Multitasking

How to improve organisation and planning skills

For some, planning and organising comes naturally, but if you need to improve there are a number of tips and tricks you can follow:

  • Plan early and be proactive - don’t leave it until the last minute!

  • Write it down - make a list of notes in your phone, or use task management software like Asana or Trello to manage your lists.

  • Use your down time to research more information on your project - the more information you have, the more prepared you can be.

  • Discuss it with others - chatting through ideas with others can often improve the outcome.

  • Delegate - if you are working in a team, the best results will be achieved through delegating and trusting others to implement your plan.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate! - one of the least appreciated skills of a good planner is being able to communicate your plan so that you and your team are clear on how you will achieve it.

Jobs that require strong organisation and planning skills

Almost all jobs require you to be competent in planning and organising, but for some roles, these skills form the majority of the role.

Some examples of roles that rely heavily on planning and organisation skills are:

  • Project management

  • Event planning

  • Business development

  • Personal assistant

  • Retail manager

  • Accountancy

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