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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?