Why Planning Works And How To Plan Better

Planning is essential to growth in your personal and professional life. Without creating a roadmap of where you want to go and how you will get there, you will end up getting sidetracked or just meandering through life. Whatever you want to achieve this year, now is the time to plan for it.

Best-selling author Scott Young says that most people aren’t great planners. Psychologists call it the planning fallacy. According to the planning fallacy, people are typically overly optimistic planners, and their projects take much longer and more effort than anticipated.

When you learn to plan better, you can create a better future for yourself. Young points out that being able to think long-term and restrain your impulses leads to success in several areas, including health, wealth and education.

If you want to learn how to become a better planner in 2021, read on. We share Young’s guidance in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Take it seriously. The best way to become a better planner is to create time for it, says Young. He follows the 10-percent rule, which means he allots about 10 percent of the total time anticipated for a project to plan for the project. If you expect to need 20 hours to work on a new project, for example, you should spend about two hours planning it. Planning time is especially valuable for projects that are new to you, he adds.

Break everything down. Now it’s time to get into details. Think through every step you must take to keep moving the project forward. Write it down. Get granular. Young gives an example of writing a novel. Instead of saying, “I want to write 500 words a day,” which is a habit, not a plan, you should ask specific questions. Will you self-publish or get an agent? Will you need reviewers or an editor? What is the main plot? What are the character backgrounds? According to Young, many complex projects fail because they are not fully mapped out. Aim to plan more than feels comfortable or necessary.

Create an itinerary. The next part of better planning is entering steps into your calendar. Young notes that this helps with logistics since you can see what other deadlines or conflicts you have. It also helps make the plan real. When you can see that you only have six months to accomplish something instead of a loose plan, it brings clarity to a vague goal.

Do the work every day. Whatever goal or achievement you are going after, you have to put in the effort to make it happen. That means making meaningful progress today—not tomorrow or next week. Immediate action is the only kind that gets anything done, says Young.

Planning requires intention. It’s not enough to merely contemplate what you want to achieve—you must take time to plan for it. Set aside ample planning time and break down the details of all the steps in the process. You can then add these steps to your calendar so you have action steps and deadlines. Then, hold yourself accountable to doing what you set out to do. When you take time to carefully plan and chart your course, you can move confidently toward accomplishing your goals.

Source: Scott Young is the author of the national bestseller, Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career. Young writes about learning, productivity, career, habits and living well on his blog.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

filed under January 2021
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