Make Plans But Don’t Stick To Them.
So there I was, in the middle of my 25 minutes of pure focus on a single task and I suddenly had to attend a meeting in 5 minutes.
I didn’t check the calendar before starting my focus session and I missed an important detail: I didn’t have 25 minutes available to focus. Dead simple.
There it was my mistake: not taking into account the future, life and everything around me.
But when we plan we cannot take into account the unpredictable.
Plans are meant to guide us most of the time, rather than give us precise directives.
Plans are worthless, but planning is everything.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
So what’s the point of making plans, you might ask?
Plans have the high purpose of helping us visualise the goals we want to achieve.
Let’s define what a Plan is:
A Plan is a sequence of Actions to be taken in order to achieve the Objectives which move us closer to our Goal.
Such a dense sentence there. Let’s have a better look at it, with an image.
We always want to move from Actions to the outside area, the Goal.
It’s worth noticing here that those sections are paired in an interesting way:
Goal — Objectives / Plan—Actions
You can think about them this way:
The Goal and the Objectives are ideal and represent the abstract ways we look at our world. They don’t exist yet.
E.g. My Goal is to reach financial independence within 2 years. My Objectives are to have 2 more sources of incomes and save every year half of what I earn.
The Plan and the Actions are concrete, have a direct influence on what we do and are detailed by nature.
E.g. My Plan is to start a drop-shipping business, create an online course on programming for designers and have a bank account where my money can generate more money.
My Actions include research the 5 best drop-shipping products that sell the most, make a spreadsheet with all the costs of starting and maintaining an online store, including payment processors and outsourced customer service.
For the online course I want to choose the best platform to spread my knowledge. I will also need to create a syllabus and pre-launch the course to gather interest. Then I want to understand the best way to promote my course.
In relation to the money-saving objective I want to know what my current bank has to offer. Also, I want to find a mentor that can help me finding the best account for my situation…
And so on and so forth with more Actions that better define the steps you have to take.
The Actions part is a detailed checklist you will use to guide yourself through the days, weeks, months and years.
Did you notice we haven’t talked about when to perform the Actions we have defined? Because it’s not the point of a plan.
A Plan is a guide we will use when we are stuck and feel like we are going nowhere.
A Plan is not a representation of your day-to-day life for the next 2 years.
A Plan doesn’t take into account the unforeseen.
A Plan can change according to what happens in your Life.
Creating the Plan is the most important step to achieve any Goal. Sticking to the Plan is an option, as long as you get back to it when stuck.
So what happens after the Plan is set and the Actions are defined?
You start working. You follow the Plan as long as Life allows you to do it. And when Life challenges you, you pause the Plan and face your challenges, then you continue where you left.
A Plan is the most powerful tool you have to stay true to yourself even when you are not following it. When everything around seems to go against you and your desires.
Planning doesn’t need to take into account all the possibilities that Life has to offer, it’s actually the opposite.
When planning, go for the best and ideal life you want to get, then work on what you have and model it until you have what you want.
There are a few strategies to implement to make sure your Plan goes the best it can. Those strategies include ways of managing time using calendar, to-do lists, time-units allocation and more.
During the next weeks I’m going to write more about how to use each of those tools.
So I encourage you to plan to read the next articles I will share. Follow me and if Life happens to challenge your Plan you know what to do.