The REAL Reason to Plan

August 20, 2008

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The REAL Reason to Plan

There’s a saying, if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. So then, why plan?

Most people think the purpose of planning is to achieve the specific results that you’re planning for. And that seems to make a lot of sense. If you want a certain result, you create a plan to get it. So that must be why you plan, right?

But hasn’t it been your experience that no matter how carefully you plan for something, your actual path to your goal is at least a little different than your plan?

If that’s true, if things rarely go exactly according to plan, then that can’t be the purpose of planning. Think of that as the motivation for planning—the result you want is what motivates you to plan, but it’s not the purpose. So what is the purpose?

The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens—when something new comes up—you can refer to that plan to help you make the best choice possible.

The real value and advantage to having a plan is that it gives you the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and unexpected events.

For example, you create a plan for the week. It includes all of your appointments and top priorities and tasks for the week. At 11 AM on Tuesday, your boss tells you to drop everything to prepare a report for her by the end of the day. Dealing with that task now becomes your new top priority.

Because you already had a plan for the week, you can make informed and intelligent choices quickly about what to postpone, what to reschedule, and what to delegate so that you can deal with your changing priorities. Your plan empowers you to deal with those changes.

Imagine you didn’t have a plan for the week and your boss gave you that task. You’d be trying to juggle all of your existing appointments and priorities and tasks in your head as you dealt with this new emergency.

At best you’d feel stressed out. That new task would create a ripple effect in your brain as you tried to mentally make all of those adjustments.

At worst, your brain would shut down, mentally dropping everything but the new task. You’d start missing appointments, missing deadlines. Where’s the power in that?

Understand that time is fixed—we all have 24 hours a day, no more and no less. Your power is not in how much time you have. Your power is in how effectively you choose to use your time. And planning enhances your power to choose by giving you the context you need to figure out what to do when things change.

So let me repeat: The primary purpose for creating a plan is so that when the unexpected happens, you have the information you need to make the best choices possible.

©2008 Curtis G. Schmitt

Productive Planning: From Stress to Success

Learn a 6-step process that will make you an expert at completing your top priorities…no matter what else is thrown at you during your day. To find out more about this powerful teleclass, visit http://www.TurnOnToLife.com/teleclass/productive_planning.html

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Goal Setting – Make SMART Goals SMARTER, Part 2

August 4, 2008

Last week I gave two examples illustrating how powerful it is to use the S.M.A.R.T. goal technique to clarify your goals and explode your productivity. [Download a free SMART Goals worksheet here.] But that technique alone does not directly address the daily pursuit of your goals — that is, how do you make sure you do what needs to be done each day to achieve your goals?

Read the rest of this entry »