6 Tips to Become a Better eLearning Planner Christopher Pappas Published on September 1, 2016 While some people are natural born planners, most of us have to work to develop this important skill. Staying organized, on-task, and on-time is crucial for professional success in eLearning. In this post, Christopher Pappas from eLearningIndustry, shares 6 top tips to help you become a better eLearning planner. All career paths require some degree of planning but it's absolutely critical in our line of work. This is particularly true when we juggle numerous eLearning projects at once, in addition to balancing all of the other aspects of our lives. Achieving your true planning potential gives you the ability to get the most out of your workday and increases your productivity. It also allows you to manage your time more effectively and ensures that every eLearning course gets your undivided attention. Here are 6 tips and tricks to help you improve your organization skills and become a better eLearning planner. Create a detailed schedule. First and foremost, planning requires a detailed schedule that is updated continuously. Include all of the important dates for current and upcoming eLearning projects, such as when they start, end, and all of the milestones in between. You should also add all of the personal appointments and eLearning events that will factor into your work schedule, instead of creating an entirely different agenda for those items. Also, be sure to add new events to your schedule as soon as you can to avoid double booking your time or forgetting about the event altogether. Set short-term goals. Creating short-term goals can help make long-term goals more manageable. It can also allow you to determine which daily tasks you need to accomplish in order to achieve objectives. Think of short-term goals as the building blocks that give you the opportunity to track your progress, maintain motivation, and identify any obstacles that may stand in your way. For example, if you are unable to achieve a short-term goal, you can assess the situation and figure out an alternative plan of action. Additionally, it's a good idea to determine how your short-term goals fit into the big picture by creating a goal or progression chart. Map out every step that you need to take to complete your primary goal, including all of the subtasks that need to be completed in the meantime. Create a list of current eLearning projects or tasks. Juggling multiple eLearning projects at once can be overwhelming and stressful. Organization is the key to creating order out of the chaos. To keep track of all your tasks, events, and eLearning projects create a list of current to-dos, then update it on a regular basis. This provides you with a general overview of everything that's happening at the moment and allows you to prioritize. You can also use it to set a daily or weekly schedule and ensure that you don’t miss out on important business opportunities. Plan for every eventuality. An effective eLearning planner always expects the unexpected, which is why it’s essential to leave room in your schedule for virtually every eventuality. For example, you might allocate an hour each day as a "grace period" when you can catch up on extra work or take care of tasks that you suddenly had to add to your to-do list. As a matter of fact, you should consider planning your schedule a week in advance so that you can allocate an entire day to dealing with the unexpected, if possible. If nothing does pop up, then you can simply use the free time to recharge and unwind from a busy work week. Rely on project management tools. There are a myriad of project management online tools that allow you to keep track of assignments and collaborate with your eLearning team. Best of all, they can be accessed anywhere, anytime, which means that you can improve your productivity. You also don't have to worry about losing important documents, as everything is stored on the cloud. Just make sure that you choose a project management tool that's right for your needs and take full advantage of its features. Know when to outsource. There are times when you simply cannot tackle all tasks by yourself. After all, there is only one of you. That's when delegating becomes a necessity, especially if you want to stay productive and on-track. It's important to know when to outsource and when to take care of business on your own. Likewise, you must find the right collaborators for your eLearning team who complement your skills. Relinquishing control can be scary, particularly if you typically prefer to fly solo. However, if your schedule is already full and there are still eLearning projects or tasks to add, then it may be time to outsource. It’s also important to bear in mind that spontaneity has its uses. Despite the fact that planning is a vital skill, you should also be as flexible and adaptable as possible in order to seize every opportunity. Maintaining a structured schedule is important, but so is keeping your options open. There never seem to be enough hours in the day. Read 8 Ways Busy eLearning Professionals Can Improve Their Time Management Skills to learn how to improve your time management skills.