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Planning Ahead!

On a day to day basis we follow a plan. It can be something as strict as a list or just a goal that we see at the end of the tunnel. To me it’s the first option. I always make a list, or a spreadsheet if it involves math. It’s a form of comfort in which I know that I have some control over the possible outcome of a decision that I make. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get frustrated if my plan fails but it helps me see the next step to take when I have it with me. I was not always like this, in fact I used to be the person who doesn’t have a plan at all – until I became a mom. So now I’d like to share with you how planning is helping me in my journey.

Here are 5 suggestions on how to plan ahead:

  1. Kick-off your day with your To-do List (make sure you are not hungry) – After you have breakfast or coffee, you can plan your day to make sure you don’t forget your commitments and to avoid having a stressful day. It doesn’t have to be a written list, you can have a mental list too. I just happen to have one written because I have the tendency to forget things. Do what works for you.
  2. Plan versus Actuals – This is most effective on financial planning. This can guide you on several life changing decisions such as career change, investments or moving to another place.
    Let me share how comparing plan versus actuals changed my life. When we started a family, we were in so much debt. That’s why I decided to start writing down on paper our monthly estimated costs and list down our actual costs in parallel. It became harder to manage when I started planning annually. So, I had migrated it to a spreadsheet, in which I added yearly inflation till 2028 (yes, I know…I’m really planning ahead!). Now, thanks to planning ahead, we have paid off our debts and will be moving to our own place.
  3. Set a Margin of Error – Just because you have a plan does not mean you are failsafe – nobody is. That’s why you must have a back-up plan in case of failure and learn from it. Forgive yourself when it doesn’t go as you had envisioned. It will usually work out another way. Some roads are closed but there’s always a detour to get to where you are supposed to go. When you are ready for challenges a few road closures will not break you.
  4. Prioritise your Goals – At the end of the day, think of what you have accomplished and what you have pending. It’s ok if you did not tick all the boxes on your To-do List but prioritise what’s left. This will help you focus on what’s more important and execute your plan smoothly.
  5. Celebrate your Wins – When you achieve what you have planned in your day or in your lifetime, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. Treat yourself to a simple weekend sleep marathon or a trip somewhere after a big milestone. Just make sure that if it costs money it’s built in to your plan.

It doesn’t take so much time to apply these 5 things on a daily basis. You just have to integrate it as a part of your routine and make it your lifestyle. A great plan that failed is better than not having a plan at all. Can you tell us how you plan your day? What works for you?

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Am I lost? Where am I right now?

Ever wondered why you are here? What role do you play in the grand scheme of things? These are the thoughts that linger on my mind at 2:00 am as I examine where I am in my life and where I want to be while munching on my chocolate bar.

I’m now 30 years old, a mom, a wife among other things. The older generation will say, “you’re still young” and the younger generation will say “gosh you are getting old”. Both statements are true, but the reality for me is – I am at the right age with the right opportunities.

I started working at the age of 15 as a telemarketer – this is where I got my persuasive communication skills. After that, I became a student assistant at the dean’s office while studying nursing – this is where I got my customer service skills. I graduated at the age of 19, filled with determination and self-doubt. Worried that I may not pass the licensure exam, I took the first opportunity available, a customer service job for a US insurance company. That’s where I got my interest with the global business and what is out there for me. Eventually, I learned that I did pass the licensure exam for nurses. I then worked in the hospital for a few years, where I got my patience and process-oriented thinking. Fast forward several years, several heart aches and several roles – I landed a job in a well-known IT company where I got my project management skills. This is where I met a person who became my mentor. She taught me that a plan without a process will work but will not be replicable. I never forgot that, and I have used the same principle in all other positions I worked with. That was 4 years ago and several pounds before where I am right now.

So, where am I, really? I am at an imperfect state in my life and I love every bit of it. I work odd hours unlike when I had the perfect time boxed job. I am earning based on how much effort I am willing to exert and not how it’s defined by HR. I do not have a career that goes up in a corporate ladder, I have a profession based on the qualities I’ve unlocked in every chapter of my story. I work with the best people in the industry who are willing to invest their time to impart their legacy with me. I have the most unusual calling, and that is to support people. Fortunately, I was given the chance to pay it forward and make a difference to other people’s lives. Sharing opportunities that no company will grant them based on the ‘standards’ of our society. Among all these great things, the most important piece of the puzzle is time that I am able to spend with my family while I follow my exciting journey. I am where I want to be at this point in my life.

How did I ever get here? I defined what success is to me and followed the path of opportunities and failures that led me to the Anne that I am right now. How about you? How did you ever get to where you are today?

 

By Anne Katherine Bangayan, Executive Assistant, RK-TCS

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