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Grant Lira of TheEmpathyfirm: The Art of Reverse Planning

When it comes to managing time and tasks, there are countless methods out there. Yet, Grant Lira, co-founder of TheEmpathyfirm, has a unique approach that he swears by reverse planning.

In a recent podcast episode, Grant opened up about how he optimizes his time, especially when running a business that requires meticulous planning and prioritizing. “It all comes down to how you really look to prioritize time,” he said. Understanding the weight of responsibilities as a co-founder, he’s honed in on an approach that works best for him.

The essence of his strategy? Instead of planning from the beginning of the week forward, Grant looks at his entire week in retrospect. He first accounts for fixed commitments, such as calls that he mentioned take priority. “I look at my week ahead of time. I look at how many calls I have, what days are on where I have the free time,” Grant explained. From there, he slots in tasks based on the gaps in his schedule, ensuring he’s effectively utilizing every hour.

Now, this might sound like a simple idea, but it’s the philosophy behind it that’s eye-opening. Most of us approach planning with a forward-thinking mindset. We have a to-do list and fit them into our week as we go along. Grant, however, is advocating for the opposite. By first considering what’s already on the table, he can better gauge where his free time lies and slot tasks accordingly. It’s about working backward, which, as per Grant, is the key to staying on track.

“I keep a running

    ,” he shared. “And then I’ll say, okay, cool. These three items here, I can easily fit into this day, this day, this day.” For someone as easily distracted as Grant, having this structured approach is crucial. “I’m very easily distracted unless I have something that I’m sticking to and I know the schedule of,” he admitted.

    In essence, Grant’s method involves identifying blocks of time that are already occupied and then placing tasks around those. It’s a proactive approach to time management, where you’re always one step ahead because you’re planning based on reality rather than assumptions.

    For those feeling overwhelmed with their schedules or often finding themselves off-track, Grant has a piece of advice: “I would highly recommend if you don’t know the time you already have. Reverse plan based on what you need to do and then what you also have to get done and work from there.”

    So, next time you’re feeling swamped, remember Grant’s words. Sometimes, to move forward effectively, it might just be worth taking a step back and reverse-planning your way to productivity.

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