Knowing where you are going
One of the hardest parts of success is realizing where you want to go.
I have written about setting goals many times, among others, here, here and here .
How do you plan on getting there?
But what many forget is what to do once you have set your goals.
It is equally as hard and takes more time, planning how you are going to accomplish your goals.
Like it has been said many times;
“Failing to plan, means planning to fail”.
If you are to succeed you have to sit down, see where you are now and where you want to go and then start making plans.
The act of setting goals makes a big difference and starts attracting opportunities into your life, but if you don’t know what you are going to do you will miss a lot of chances.
Your plans aren’t written in stone
On the other hand you must be flexible. If an unexpected opportunity comes your way you have to be able to update your plans to take advantage of this opportunity.
But having a detailed plan gives you the chance to see how this new opportunity ways in to the rest of your efforts into a “master plan”.
If you don’t have a “master plan” all the activities will be counteracting each other, fighting for your time and energy instead of working in harmony and letting you leverage all the resources at the common goal.
Your Master Plan
Once you have set your goal, take the time to start thinking about what you need, how you are going to get it and what steps you need to take to make your dream a reality.
Like has been said time and time again “Every minute spent on planning saves X minutes in execution”. Substitute the X for anything from 2-10. I have heard all of them being used.
I usually say 10 minutes is saved per minute spent on planning.
That is how important it is.
Just look in the small scale when you plan your day (read more in the article Planning Your Day).
You organize your activities, focus your work and do a lot better when you have planned.
These days I spend about 2 hours doing what used to take 10 (I know that is just 5 times the time, but bear with me).
Investing Time On Planning Is The Key To Winning Time On Execution
If you take this to a larger scale and look at the planned start of a company.
By spending time forming your plans, goals, mission statements, your requirements and so on, you will save lots of time on the execution of the plan.
Because if you don’t have a plan you don’t know what to do, you won’t know how many people you need to hire, what is the most important activity for you to do, what should be delegated, what you can hire a consultant to do, how to market your services, if you need sales staff or a marketing division and so on.
The more you have planned the better everything will go.
Just look at one of the best generals of all time.
As a young man Napoleon decided to learn everything he could about logistics and about how to move an army fast.
Whenever he started a new campaign he planned out every detail, down to the number of rounds of ammunition he needed. This way he could move his armies fast, react to unexpected situations and see when things weren’t going according to plan.
How do you know if it isn’t going according to plan if you don’t have one?
This was the question that really opened my eyes to the importance to planning.
If you don’t know exactly what needs to happen, at what moment and in which order, how do you know if you are on track or not?
The answer is, you don’t.
You don’t need a complete plan, but you do need a partial one.
Making a complete step by step plan might feel a bit daunting.
That is the reason it has taken me so long to start planning. You don’t know what EXACTLY is going to happen and therefore it is hard to make those detailed plans.
But if you plan a bit, make a skeleton with a few key points that are important, list things that you know need to be done and done right to succeed, you will probably start to find more things that need to be done in order to do them and so on.
By having a partial plan you will at least have a much better idea than if you don’t have one at all.
1. Set your goals in clear words (read Setting Goals for more information).
2. Spend an hour making plans to make those goals a reality.
3. Take action on the first thing that needs to be done and start doing something every day to bring you nearer to your goals.
Photo Credit: Kopfjäger