Creating and applying the habit of planning in all aspects of our life
How many of you who are reading this enjoy planning? You don’t have to raise your hand, just kindly check off ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in your mind. I hope that most of you have checked off ‘yes,’ because, I certainly did. I love planning every project, every trip, every vacation or road trip must be planned. Why so, why do I so strongly believe that planning is something everyone must do before taking on an important action or project? The answer here is surprisingly a very simple one – planning helps us to make what initially seemed as a complex task into a very simple one.
Let’s take vacation planning as an example. How many of you plan your vacations? Ok, make another note in your mind. I plan my family’s vacations to the smallest detail, from transportation to food, lodging, entertainment, finances, etc. You may be thinking why go to the extreme? Why not just go and see what happens? Because, peace of mind and mine and and my family members’ happiness is very important to me. The last thing that I want is to find myself trying to do is figure out the logistics during the vacation, which often causes frustration, confusion, unhappiness for everyone involved in the absence of a clear plan.
Take for example a family trip to a Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Many people would find it a very complex and often anxious experience, especially when you are traveling with little kids. I have personally observed several families with kids having a very difficult time, being upset, disappointed, and frustrated while at Disney World. Why? I would say that the biggest reason would have to be the lack of planning before the trip. However, when you plan everything out well in advance, know where you are going, the attractions you want to see, rides you want to ride, reserve fast passes to the rides and shows that you absolutely must see and experience, purchase meals well in advance, securing transportation and lodging, then the entire Disney experience will be very enjoyable for the entire family. So, that is why I view planning as a very important key to a success and happiness for all involved.
By the way, planning does not only apply to vacations, it applies to virtually all aspects of our personal and professional lives. When you are assigned a large project at work, the very first step that one should take is to break down this project into smaller sub projects, and then create a plan of action – how will you tackle each sub project along the entire timeline to ensure that complete product is delivered before the deadline, while meeting and often exceeding quality controls and expectations set by the business. Remove planning out of the equation and you are stuck with big unknown, with a challenge that you do not know where to begin in handling, or if you can even complete it before the requested due date. This creates unnecessary stress and pressure placed on our shoulders. So, why not planned it out and tackle the task or project in smaller, much more manageable chunks?
I would challenge you to look at each task, project, or event as a planner. Have a plan clearly outlined listing step-by-step action items to be completed over time without preestablished guidelines or requirements should they be present in your specific situation. Write down you detailed plan on a paper, and if you choose not to user paper and pen, then have it typed up on a pc/tablet/phone, where you can easily access it at any time. Remember, if you are working on a project for your employer and you happened to run into an obstacle or a roadblock along your project journey, be sure to raise your concerns to the appropriate individual(s) proactively, especially if/when you are at risk of missing a deadline. Do not wait until the very end, as it may be a very difficult and often impossible to address any of the concerns near or at the ‘finish line.’
So, if you have previously viewed planning as a non-important or unnecessary task, hopefully you now see how important the process of planning is in all aspects of our lives and will begin viewing planning as necessity and part of everything you do in your personal and professional lives.
hope you enjoyed reading this module as much as I enjoyed writing it, and hope that you found it to be very useful for you or someone else that you may know. Please feel free to share this post if you know someone who may benefit from reading it same way you did