Do you have a parking lot? 

I do.  

You might have one, or many, and not realize it.  

A parking lot is where you “park” ideas.  

I teach and encourage 90-day planning cycles.  For those 90 days, that plan is your map.  Anything that tries to distract you or re-direct you is put in the parking lot. 

For example, You find out about new software.  Software that could be good for your business.  Let’s face it, researching it will take time, doing a demo or test-driving will take time.  Implementing it will take a lot of time.  Time you did not have planned on your map/plan.   Time that could be putting towards your goals.  

My goal is to have you focus on your goals, the rocks you previously determined were the best things for your business.   I also know you don’t want to lose this possible solution. 

This is why I recommend everyone have a parking lot.  Somewhere to capture/park the idea of the new software.  A place to hold it until you can look at it.  

Your parking lot is a list of ideas, possibilities, and things to look into.  Mine is full of future products, training topics, marketing thoughts, ideas for an app, ideas for workbooks, and business improvements I want to do.  What you put into your parking lot is totally up to you.

Your parking lot can be a word document, a notebook, or even the notepad on your phone.  Anything you would use to capture your thoughts and ideas.  Mine is a workspace in ClipUp. 

The parking lot is a tool to help you stay disciplined and stay focused on your goals.  The parking lot is a way to sort the noise, the shiny objects, and the distractions.   

During the next planning cycle, you review your parking lot.  Your review to see if anything should now be moved from the parking lot to your plan.  You also review it to see if anything should be towed from the parking lot permanently.  

What I have found is that what seems like a “really good idea” at the moment, doesn’t seem so shiny after the moment has passed.  I also have found that when we are looking at our priorities, that shiny object from last month, is not a priority today.  

Do you see the power of the parking lot?  It is a way to keep you focused on your goals but gives you a way to capture the good ideas, ensuring they will not be lost if you don’t look at them right now.   It gives you a “cooling” off period. Allowing you to assess and prioritize it properly.  

My quarterly/annual planning session is next week.  One of the first things I’ll be looking at is my parking lot.  I know there are items on the list that I want to plan for.  There are also items that I think should be towed. 

What do you think about the idea of a parking lot?   Will you create one? 

The biggest challenge is to stay focused. It’s to have the discipline when there are so many competing things.

Alexa Hirschfeld