Figuratively speaking, when you think about doing something, well, “you just made a plan.” But in a more formal perspective, planning is an actual process.
Success doesn’t happen by chance. Even if you achieve something with little effort and close to no planning, it’s almost impossible to sustain success in the long run; as the founding father of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin, once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” On the other hand, if you struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance, effective planning can give you a hand.
Understanding why planning early matters
In the modern era of “hustling” and “grinding up,” when you almost always have a lot of work piled up, it’s quite difficult to plan everything. Nevertheless, if you want a breather amidst your hard-pressed schedule, planning early can be of great help.
The first step of planning early is understanding and acknowledging your highest capacity. We are often unable to reach our fullest potential for failing to make efficient plans, known as “I didn’t get enough time.” Early planning saves you from lots of extra work and extra stress before the deadline. Moreover, planning rewards you with accomplishments in your professional life and gives you a sense of fulfilment in your personal life.
Helps to reach optimum efficiency
Efficiency essentially means obtaining the maximum output using the minimum input. And this needs proper usage of resources such as time, energy and money that can be used efficiently by planning well. Your task can be as simple as buying your weekly groceries or as complex as planning your yearly finances. Saving money isn’t just limited to booking your air ticket or booking your hotel, or keeping a generous amount of time in hand. When you look into your banking options and investment choices before making a decision, you also save a lot of money in the long run.
This is also applicable for any project at your workplace. Let’s say you are assigned to make a group presentation. Sketch out the major steps, i.e. conducting the research, assigning specific tasks to each team member, choosing the design template, picking out a theme, etc., as soon as you can. These are all parts of effective planning. Before you jump into the actual work, this little effort can reduce your last-moment stress and time wasted in mismanagement.
Helps avoid over-committing
As work is very competitive in today’s hustle culture, people often over-commit to working to stay on top of their game. Moreover, as there is a “show-off” trend ongoing through social media stories and more of how hard-working some people are – the rest feel they are inadequate if they are not overworking. But if someone has planned their weekend or month’s checklist – they would be able to say no to work beyond their healthy decree. As such, by planning early, individuals can commit only as much as they should.
Often individuals don’t realise that they are over-committing until, at one point, they are swamped with multiple deadlines all at once. Planning ahead could save them from this pressure as well as enhance the quality of each task.
Allows to make realistic goals
When we set unplanned goals, very often, they become unrealistic. For instance, if we set a goal to complete the presentation slides of a project in a day, and if we have other commitments such as additional office meetings – we may not be able to complete it. At the same time, we also might set goals that are beneath the optimum level because, in our head, we have too many pending tasks without really calculating through them. However, if we were to set planned goals – it would help us set realistic goals that we would be able to complete and be efficient in achieving them.
Once you note down your goals for the week or month you can practically see what you have got on your plate. Then you can quickly reassess the feasibility of your goals.
Prevents risk of burnout
As planning early helps you not to over-commit and set realistic goals, you generally feel better about your work. In addition, as you work on an optimum level, you can take time out of your schedule to take a walk in the park or watch a Netflix series easily. You may also plan a vacation long-term. You deserve the occasional dopamine release from ticking off a few things from your bucket list. All of this helps you strike a good balance between your work and personal life, all of which help prevent burnout.
Planning increases work quality
Within teams, if work is planned early and work division is done well – it helps them to deliver their best. The same is true on a personal level too. For example, when work is planned on a task board, it becomes easier to track how many deadlines were met and at what pace – meaning it becomes easier to identify potential flaws in the approach that can be rectified. Similarly, it also shows what type of work is being done on time, meaning confidence increases to deliver better quality work. Finally, planning early also gives us the necessary thinking, researching, and redrafting time needed to heighten work quality.
To conclude, planning ahead by no means implies over-planning. Sometimes you just need to trust your instincts and get started. Of course, it’s not practically feasible to plan everything for your life ahead. But if there’s the scope to plan, it always puts you one step ahead toward success.
Author- Hridita Islam