Is there a good time to plan your improvements?
I'm not sure if there is ever a good time to sit down and do planning; I just know what happens when you don't come up with some kind of a plan - drift. Apart from becoming more susceptible to the effect of the bumps you will inevitably hit, you don't follow up with what you should be doing. The noise of the working day becomes too much and you end up slowing down / stopping / going backwards.
Plans can vary in terms of their complexity and you can choose to have a simple plan, or a complex plan. I like simple plans for their ease of implementation.
A good time to plan is when things aren't going very well. I often hear people tell me that they can't write a plan because of the sheer chaos and problems around them. Forcing yourself (and your team) to take a time out and developing a simple plan does two useful things.
1 - It helps to coordinate your team more effectively, helping you to become more productive as a whole.
2 - It help you to eliminate activities that aren't effective and concentrate your efforts.
So, although planning can take some time out of your schedule, it has to be recognised that having no plan is a bad strategy. Your plan doesn't have to be complex, in fact simpler plans are usually better at generating results. Just make sure that you have a plan.
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.