16 tips and tricks for better planning.

All about planning tactics!

Planning is the course of action for translating plans into life. If each step of your road is well-chosen, it is less likely to fell over your feet during the journey. Whatever the circumstances are, ball is always in your court. How you plan is how the things happen to you. When you go ahead of time, you master the time in real sense. Planning should be a part of everything we do, from goal setting to action, from study to shopping, and thus the whole life. We know how beneficial is a to do list for everyday.

Image by Estèe Janssens at Unsplash

How is planning important?

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

~ Jim Rohn

A well-planned road is easy to pursue. To plan is to efficiently use your time and energy. Failing to plan is considered as the plan to fail. It’s important how you design your life. Without plans, goals remain dreams and there is little chance of having them as reality in life. A good plan when followed has useful outcomes.

“Every minute you spend on planning saves ten minutes in execution; this gives you a thousand percent return on energy.”

~Brian Tracy

When we plan something, we ensure that we want it to happen. We wait for the time to execute the plan and that is when the pleasure adds to our journey.

“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting.”
~Andy Warhol

I always believe in the power of plans. From the experiences of my life and of some self-help speakers, I have composed a list of steps and tips which help to keep me on track for a better plan. I’ve listed all of them in this article.

1. Research for ideas

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is your imagination.”

~Napoleon Hill

Exploration and analysis of the problem at hand is the most important and difficult part in planning. Research as much as you can on what will work best for you. You can also research for how to plan for the particular issue/event and gather as much information as you can. For example, a great number of study plans can be acquired by either second-hand experience e.g research or from your past experiences.

2. Write them down

“No man was more foolish when he had not a pen in his hand, or more wise when he had.”
~ Samuel Johnson

Writing gives meaning to thoughts. Human memory is weaker and it fades over time. Writing the plans makes them more clearer and more and more ideas appear in your mind of their own accord. To write something is to ensure it.

“Reduce your plans to writing. The moment you completed this, you will have definitely given concrete form to intangible desire.”

~Napoleon Hill

3. Refine the ideas for clarity

“The first step is to be absolutely clear about what you want.”
~John Assary, author

Clarify the ideas acquired from research. A double-minded person is distracted often. Refine your ideas and research so that you may have an idea of what is going to happen.

4. Make list of all possible steps to reach the goal

Steps are important. Write every single step that has come across your mind. Discuss the pros and cons of each move and idea and check out which of them will work for you.

5. Prioritize goals plus prime moves

First things first. Analyze which steps should be taken at particular time and which things should be dealt before others.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”

~Stephen Covey

6. Organize the plan

Organize all the stuff obtained from research, refining and prioritizing. Make a plan which is well organized and has everything you need to have. Remove nonessential tasks.

The writer of the bestseller self-help book ‘7 habits of highly effective people’, Stephen Covey discusses why we fail to achieve something big enough. If we divide our plan and goal into following four categories it will help us to prioritize plans.

  • Important and urgent
  • Important and not urgent
  • Urgent but not important
  • Not important and not urgent

Stephen Covey says that people spend most of their time on what is urgent but not important. Important tasks matter more.

Image from Felipe Furtado at Unsplash

7. Planning and Time management

A plan without managing time is good for nothing. You spend hours and hours working on your plan and mess up while executing it, this isn’t going to help. Manage your time to manage your schedule. No amount of money can help you to buy a few more hours. No research laboratory has helped to invent more time. Nothing can be done to spare some time for next day. So,it’s an equal opportunity and needs to be used cautiously. Time is important in making a plan as well for executing it.

“A good plan violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”

~George Patton

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”

~Jim Rohn

8. Three goal method by Brian Tracy

Write down your three most important goals in life in less than 30 seconds that will clarify some of your ideas. That’s what Brian Tracy recommends. This method is quite helpful especially if anyone is suffering from lack of ideas and goals.

9. Make realistic plans

Everyone has limits, don’t make such plans which are too good to be followed.
Count your chickens before they are hatched. Do not base your expectations or plans on something that may not happen. Blind planning will take you nowhere. You have to weigh the chances of each move to avoid failure.
Slow and steady wins the race. Slow but sure.

10. Set deadline

Deadlines forces us to do what needs to be done. If there were no deadlines we would put off all the work until tomorrow, or the next day or the day after that. If you fail to have your way in time, set another date.

Without a deadline, your work is never over. The power of deadlines leads your work to completion. What is done poorly is better than what is 20% done perfectly assuming person operates on a progress-driven mindset. Then you can improve to make things less bad faster.”

~Thomas Vato

11. Execution of plan

Making a practical plan means practicing it. A plan without action is good for nothing. A good plan if not followed is useless. It is a waste of energy and time. No matter what happens always act, either on one or the other plan

“Action with planning is the cause of all success.”

~Stephen Covey

12. Pay heed to the beginning

Well begun is half done. The first stroke is half of the battle. It matters how you start, at least to yourself. Don’t get distracted in whichever way you are going. Keep your morale high.

13. Backup plan

You should have a backup plan so that you don’t have to wait for making another one. Some things don’t go as planned, what are we supposed to do then? Follow another plan. Back up for the worst, expect the worst is part of planning. If so to say, your plan A doesnot work, check what went wrong and focus on what to do next. While making plans, you should clearly name second plan if first gets wrong. Depending upon renewed conditions, you should think analytically what to do next.Focus on what to do next if one plan went wrong.

“Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing adventure with them.”
~Dennis Waitley

“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 letters, 204 if you’re in Japan.”

Claire Cook, writer and motivational speaker

14. Take breaks for rest and for incomplete tasks

Breaks are important. If you take no or little breaks, chances are greater for leaving the work altogether. Excess of work is bad, schedule some free time in your day to help you get some rest and do something which you couldn’t do before.

15. Plan for each day

If you make plan for each day you will live a life worth living. Plan each day, yes each one. Whether it’s a big plan or a small one, involves household work or an assignment, you have to plan. Waiting for your next days' plan makes you wait for it and this waiting tends to make you happier. Confucius believed that not planning for future will lead us into trouble.

“Never begin the day until it is finished on paper.”

~Jim Rohn

16. Review your plan

Annual, weekly and daily assessment of plans can help you to know where you are and what needs to be done. It’s a way to check whether it’s on or to change the plan. If you continue to review your plan, you’d know what’s to come and can mend your way before it’s too late.

Planning is a lifetime practice. Once you get into habit of making a feasible plan, you’d love your every day. I hope these planning tactics will work for you as they work for me.

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Fiza Ameen

A nyctophile, truth-seeker gravitating towards human nature| Writing is my way of unlearning the patterns.