How well are you at planning?

We all know that the key to success is hard work with proper planning. Lots of things can go wrong if things are not planned well. You can have all the resources available to complete a task but if the activity is not planned well then things can go terrible wrong. It I work in software industry and one of the main reasons for project failures are improper planning. Of course almost every time the blame falls on the poor developers instead of the project manager for a project’s failure but that’s a different story.

I am an avid planner. I like to plan things ahead, even for the smallest thing like buying a phone. I think one of the reasons I plan things is to avoid surprises. Another reason is to be better prepared if things go wrong. When I plan, I make sure I have more than one option for a given thing so that the 2nd option becomes my back up plan.

When I am not busy I work, I like to plan what I would like to do during the weekend or whenever I am free. I list down all probable activities that I wanted to do. Once I list the activities, for every activity I list the details of each if possible, for example, if I want to take a road trip I would list the places I would like to go, if I wanted to go shopping I would list the list of things that I need to buy and so on. Of course I don’t spend my whole day making this list. It’s an evolutionary list – it keeps evolving whenever I have an idea. I also keep marking once an activity is done. This helps me realize what I need to achieve in life. Whenever I feel bored with my daily routine and want a change in life – I look up this list and start something new. Life can really get boring if you keep doing the same thing daily.

When I have friends visiting me or if I visit anyone, I like to plan out every little detail of my itinerary. I don’t spend too much time planning things, but I do give a considerable amount of thinking in planning things out. That way I am not up for surprises. I start by thinking what my friend likes to eat  – this will help me plan the menu for the day or in picking up the restaurant that we would like to go. Once this is done, I have my full menu planned up for all the days. After that I list what all grocery I need to buy (applicable if I am cooking) otherwise I skip that part. Then I list the places where I can take my friends around. I will list the places that we could be visiting. I will also offer more than one options so that the 2nd option serves as plan B. This also helps me a) plan things out loud and clear b) avoid surprises c) have back up options d) make changes to the plan to include a variety – meaning I don’t want to bore the person making them eat similar things or taking them to similar places.

With each such planning, I become good at it. Being a good planner can help you in a lot of different ways. Here are a few things that can help you get started with your planning.

1. Plan for study –  Is there a test or exam that you want to take. List the topics or number of books that you intend to take. Then plan by putting start and completion dates against each topic or book. Give buffer time for revision and practice test. Put a date for taking the actual test a week after your schedule is over. If you are done early you can rearrange the dates.

2. List the books that you would like to read – For those not interested in books you can modify this to comics, magazines or video games or movies.

3. List the places you want to visit – This could start from anything small like a small bookstore nearby to a big national attraction. The key here is to start by something small and as you achieve the small things shoot for the bigger goal.

4. List the food you want to eat – You can start by what you want to prepare and cook at home and then move towards the local restaurants nearby, different cuisines you want to try etc.

5. List of activities you wanted to do – Like running, biking, swimming. The idea is to list things that you know you can do and you never had a chance to do and to list the thing that you want to learn newly.

6. List of things you want to buy – For house, for yourself, for others.

7. List new things that you want to do that you have never done before. This will help you bring out the creative side of you and help you explore thing that you have never done before.

One of the key things for better planning is to plan things that would allow you to achieve your goal. Start by planning for small things that are easy to achieve and develop that into a bigger goal. Have realistic goals is one of the keys towards successful planning. Happy Planning!!!!

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