Do you have trouble with planning or following through your plans? Have you ever gone a whole day/week with nothing to show for it? Do you often feel less productive than you actually want to be? Then keep reading, this article is definitely for you.
Research revealed that the growth of a company that plans is 30 percent faster than the company that doesn’t plan.
I understand we have different types of planning. Ranging from business plan, educational plan, daily/personal plan. This article, however, will be addressing daily/personal plan. Because it all starts with you.
If you cannot stick to your personal plan, then it is safe to say that you will have trouble sticking to any other plans.
Whether you are a business man/woman, a student, a worker, whomever you are, planning is a step closer to achieving your dreams.
Countless of times I have heard the words, “How do I stick to my plan?” For one reason or the other, this is an area where many people tend to have headaches. They just can’t seem to stick to their plan.
However, for good reasons, I do not think the major challenge is sticking to a plan.
I believe the challenge is actually knowing the importance and significance of having a plan.
Wouldn’t you agree with me that a student who doesn’t understand the significance of having a personal timetable during exams will think he/she can easily download each course into his/her brain a week before the exam? How wrong!
The point is until we understand the importance and the impact of creating a plan in every area of our lives we may never adopt the zeal to make one, or follow through the one we make.
Take for example;
Imagine a student waking up with so much enthusiasm because she anticipates having a productive day, but unfortunately, without a timetable.
She walks into the school and finds different classes such as Biology, Mathematics, English, Commerce, and Chemistry going on concurrently. She checks them out one after the other and finally concludes to enter Chemistry class.
On entering, 10 minutes later, she remembers, “Better there than here.” She leaves for Biology class.
Now in Biology class. After listening to the teacher for about 5 minutes she realizes that she isn’t catching up as the class already started before she walked in. So what does she do? She drags herself back to chemistry class, unfortunately the teacher is already rounding up.
Now frustrated, she stands outside the class and thinks, state, a tiny voice whispered from behind, “Hey, you wanna check out what’s trending on YouTube?” And because she is so confused and lost as to what the next step to take is, she takes one last long look at all the classes and shrugs, “Sure, why not?”
And she walks away into a distraction. There goes the supposedly anticipated productive day. What a shame! This is exactly what happens when you do not have a plan.
In the above scenario, the student could be you, the subjects your tasks that were not properly planned on your schedule (or timetable), and the tiny voice your distraction, which today, I perceive to be majorly social media.
Do not panic. If you follow the tips given in this article, planning will become the least of your worries. In this post we will be navigating through the journey of;
1. The importance of having a plan
2. Making a plan and,
3. How to stick to a plan.
Now, let’s embark on planning to sail, shall we?
IMPORTANCE OF PLANNING
“When the importance of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.”
Not to mince words, below are important reasons you need to plan.
- Your plan is your road map.
Imagine travelling through a desert and having no map to guide you, you will be frustrated, or worse you will get lost. Your plans will serve as your guide and prevent you from getting lost in whatever goal you set or journey you embark.
- Planning reveals your destination.
Destination here in other word means target. Steve Maraboh says, “If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?” A good plan tells you exactly where you are going.
- You Know What’s Working And What’s Not.
If you do not plan, you will major on the minor and minor on the major. Your plans unveil what is working, what needs improvement and what needs to be terminated. This greatly speeds up your work and makes you more productive.
- Planning Relieves Tension.
No doubt tasks can be overwhelming, having a viable plan helps alleviate unnecessary stress and frustrations that come with voluminous tasks. With planning, tasks are broken down into pieces that are then followed through.
- You Feel Good.
This may sound trivial but there is a soothing feeling that comes with a successfully completed task. It boosts your confidence and makes you feel in control. You also feel good about every other parts of your life.
Now that you understand the importance of having a plan, let’s dive into the act of planning itself.
MAKING A PLAN.
The first step in making a plan is to WRITE. This is the first and by far the most important step.
I could go ahead and make up stuffs on creating a plan, but that is just that. Because in the end, it’s all about you sitting down and actually doing it.
You have to decide. I know you want to have a plan. And I also know you wish to have a plan. However, you must stop just wanting/wishing. You need to decide and take action now.
So, start writing. You alone know what you need done, hence, you alone can write it yourself.
Here’s an advice when you want to make your plan, pick up that pen as well as that notepad and start writing.
Why did I mention pen and notepad? It is easy to get distracted when you are working on your phone or laptop while at the same time trying to figure things out (brainstorm).
So, my advice is make your list first on a notepad or any jotter, make the necessary adjustments, be satisfied with your plan, then you can go ahead and type it on your phone on a reminder app. That way, even if you do get distracted you always have your written plan on the notepad to fall back to.
HOW DO I STICK TO MY PLAN?
Congratulations! You finally succeeded in creating your plan. Now the question is, “How do I stick to my plan?”
Before we bring ourselves to answer this question, we will need to ask another, which is, why am I not sticking to my plan? This is where we talk about distractions.
Admittedly, there will always be unexpected events coming up to sway us from our normal plan, these events can range from social media, friends, procrastinations, and so on. They are usually the reasons we are not sticking to our plans. We must address them. To do that we must;
If you truly want to plan to sail, you must prioritize.
Take for instance what a friend of mine told me,
“My schedule is quite spontaneous. Things come up that I have to attend to. So, even though I’m busy. I’m not as productive as I want to be.”
This scenario is one that is common to almost everyone, hence, it is imperative to identify these spontaneous events when they show up, then we can learn to handle them so as to prevent them from totally ruining our plans.
When you do not have a plan, anything will interest you. Like in the student’s case described above, there will always be an undone, a half done or an almost done task.
The power to know which ones to do at a specific time lies greatly in your ability to write a viable plan and meticulously stick to it.
This is something you have to do for yourself. Know what’s worth spending time on and what’s not. Prioritize your daily activities.
Some things can wait, while some need immediate attention. Figure that out and you will be having more productive days than you may have envisaged.
- Get Rid of Distractions.
Welcome to 21st century where distractions are ubiquitous. You do not have to find them, they will surely find you.
Getting rid of distractions largely has to do with Self-discipline. Easier said than done, yeah I know. But if you want to become resistant to distractions, you need to inculcate the habit of self-discipline.
Luckily, getting rid of distractions goes hand in hand with prioritizing.
Embrace this statement by Brian Tracy.
“Work all the time you work. When people want to talk to you, excuse yourself and say, “I have to get back to work!” Do not drop off your dry cleaning, phone your friends, socialize with your coworkers, or read the newspaper. Work all the time you work.”
- Be Consistent.
Someone said, “Consistency is the belt that fastens excellence in position. If you don’t do it repeatedly, you will not excel.”
Never go a day without having a plan to follow. It takes 30 days of consistently doing something to form a habit.
Write your plan, and write it every day. This is key. What you do often will become a part of you.
Here’s something that can help; before you go to bed every night, write your plan for the next day. Even if it’s a repetition of that day’s, write it. Then let it be if not the last but one of the last things you read before sleeping.
Research shows that what you read before sleeping sticks more to your memory. So, by the time you wake up the following day, you already have an idea of what your plan for the day is.
In fact, the good news is, you may not need a reminder app to keep you on track, depending on the degree of your tenacity.
Finally, implement! Planning without action is as good as not planning at all. You must start acting out your constructed plans now.
In conclusion, the significance of having a plan to follow cannot simply be over emphasized. There’s a popular saying that, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
If you follow these tips given in this article coupled with other planning books that specialize on your career line, you are on your way to becoming unstoppable at realizing any goals you may desire. And that is my wish for you.
Remember, many times we fail at a project not because we do not have the skills or experience but simply because we fail to plan.
So, waste no more time. Start planning now!
I believe you learned from this article. Kindly share with your friends so they can learn also. Don’t forget to drop your comments in the comment box below. Tell us other ways we can plan to sail!