The Importance of Planning to Plan
There isn’t a person, and especially a businessperson who hasn’t heard how important it is to take the time to plan and set goals every year. The reality is, like getting daily exercise or making sure you are eating healthy, while we know we should, it is something easily put off to another day.
Planning or setting goals can feel a little daunting, mostly because it requires us to face our own uncertainty. It can be uncomfortable to have to settle on one or two things, especially when there are so many possibilities. It can be tough to know what the future holds, and heaven forbid, you chart a wrong course.
Here is some truth. Without a plan or some sort of direction for you and your business, you are feeding that uncertainty. The thing you are avoiding will play havoc on your success and your wellbeing .
Here are some pointers when it comes to planning and getting down to the business of it:
- Schedule time to think – When you are planning your future, it’s important to schedule time for thinking. The process of planning doesn’t happen overnight—it can take weeks or even months of thinking. Make time to do this a priority, so block out time in your calendar and then make the commitment to honor that allocation.
- Unplug – No phones, no computers, no work. Just you and the people you need to help you define where you want to take your business. Use this time to reconnect with yourself and with others. Have the conversations that you want to have. Bring up your crazy ideas and thoughts and be in that moment, and just shut out the rest of the world. I promise when you reopen the door, it will still be there.
- Silence – Silence can be one of the most productive things you can do. We often think of silence as a passive activity—you are not doing anything, but rather just sitting or lying there quietly. But in fact, this is an active form of listening and observing, which allows us to reflect on what we’re doing and why we’re doing it—what’s most important to us? How do our goals align with our values? Do we have any new ideas about how to accomplish these goals? This type of reflection is essential for planning because it helps you determine whether our plans are aligned with who we really want to be as individuals.
- Seek out inspiration – Embrace the idea of looking at different people, industries, companies, organizations, and children for inspiration. When you are inside your business, you know how it is; the good, the bad and the ugly, so your plans will ultimately end up reflecting that. The focus will be on trying to fix the bad (which isn’t all bad), however when you get inspired, it brings a different level of energy and enthusiasm around what is possible, and your plans will then reflect that.
- Get a change of scenery– This goes hand in hand with the previous, the next time you find yourself in a creative rut, try getting out of the office. Even if it’s just for one day, taking time to remove yourself from the environment that has been preventing your brain from functioning at its best can help you clear your head and come up with fresh ideas.
- Build in reflection – You should also make sure to reflect on your progress, but also on the process. Sometimes the process and what is learned, is every bit as important as achieving a goal. Reflect on what was learned about yourself, your team, the way in which issues were handled, or not handled and how things ultimately came or didn’t come together.
Planning is key to staying on track and focused on your goals. Planning helps you avoid distraction, procrastination, and inefficiency. It also allows you to get things done faster. Planning has benefits beyond simply meeting your objectives: it can improve your quality of life as well.
Plan to plan. It’s the only way to stay on track with your goals, and it can be as simple as setting aside time each week to sit down and think about what you want to accomplish in the coming months. Schedule time away from distractions so that you can focus on what matters most—your future self will thank you for it!
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