Planning for Success: Step 5 – Planning

Failing to plan is planning to fail – Proverb

In this post I am going to focus on planning. It is quite apt that it is number 5 in the series as there is a 5P saying that goes “Proper planning prevents poor performance”; I am sure you may know one or two more 6 or 7P ones that are a little less polite, I’ll leave those to your imagination. So far in the series we have talked about the “what” (Vision & Goals) and the “why” (Motivation). We are now getting into the “how”.

When I talk about planning here I am not just talking about lines on a Gannt chart or dates on a to-do list. What I invite you to do is consider options around the topics listed here

  • The tasks and activities you might need to do
  • The things that you might need to complete those tasks and activities
  • What information, knowledge and skills you might require
  • What reasons you may have to get other people involved and how they might be able to help you (we’ll come on to that in more detail in a later post)
  • Problems and obstacles that you might encounter

In generating options, you give yourself the opportunity to consider different approaches rather than having your blinkers on and only considering one way of doing something. There are a number of ways you can generate ideas such as mind-mapping, brainstorming, mindstorming (GoMAD Thinking technique), to name but a few. Try ‘Google-ing’ creative thinking techniques, if you want to find a few more. Once you have generated a number of options, you can review, select and prioritise those that you wish to pursue. You may wish to consider what criteria you will apply to help you select and prioritise the options you’ve created. You will need to review dependencies and the order in which you complete the tasks to make sure they support your goals and vision.

To solve any problem, here are three questions to ask yourself: First, what could I do? Second, what could I read? And third, who could I ask? – Jim Rohn

Right, to this point we have done lots of thinking, lots of imagining, created lots of ideas. You’ve reviewed and prioritised the options. Now, it is time to commit time in your diary to actually complete the tasks.

The power of deadlines

Above all else though, as you develop your plan you must set yourself and expect to meet deadlines for completing the tasks you have chosen. Deadlines can act to

  • Enforce your accountability
  • Strengthen your commitment
  • Create a sense of urgency within you

Which in turn will help you to generate energy to and be proactive in achieving your goals.

I would go as far as to say that you should sign a contract with yourself to complete the tasks and meet your deadlines, by doing so you create even more commitment and accountability.

Over to you. For a project or task you are working on at the moment, try considering some options around the areas listed above. Review, select and prioritise those that you will pursue and set yourself some challenging deadlines for completing them.

In the next post we will move on to the topic of Personal Development