Are your best laid plans often scuppered by lack of preparation?
That’s because planning and preparing are two different things.
You plan to get out of the house by 7.00, but at 7.35 you’re still racing around getting dressed, throwing stuff in your briefcase or searching for your keys. You didn’t prepare.
You’ve been planning the business meeting for weeks, yet you’re scrambling to get the reports printed and copies of the agenda together as the meeting is about to start. If only you had prepared.
Think of planning as the blueprint, and preparation as the gathering, compiling and getting-your-ducks-in-a-row to make the plan happen.
Using the first example above, say you want to leave the house at 07.00 tomorrow so you can get to the gym on the way to the office. And there are a few other things you need to remember, too.
You plan. You’ll need your sport kit and gym bag, briefcase, those two important letters you need to post during lunch and don’t forget the work document you brought home to review for tomorrow’s meeting.
A good start, but are you ready to go?
Does your sports bag contain everything you’ll need for the gym, ready to go at the front door?
Did you put the work document back in your briefcase so you won’t forget it in the morning?
How about those letters. Are they stamped, addressed and ready for posting? Are they in your briefcase?
Is your briefcase at the front door with your sports bag?
Where are your keys?
This may sound like a lot of hand-holding, but taking a few minutes to gather these items the night before will save you untold time and stress in the morning.
Note that the trick here is to ensure your preparation is enough in advance so you have extra breathing room, or a margin for recovery.
In our example, is it possible to get everything together in the morning and leave as planned at 7.00? Of course it is. Or in the case of planning the meeting, is it feasible to print the reports and make copies minutes before? Absolutely. But cutting it too close, you run the risk of meeting potential hazards and inducing unnecessary stress.
It may take you twenty minutes longer than expected to find that document or those letters you need to post.
The printer could jam.
The colour cartridge could run out of ink …and there may not be a replacement on hand.
Preparing in advance gives you the opportunity to meet unexpected hiccups, and the buffer time to recover from them.
Not to mention the bigger picture benefits:
– Your confidence will improve because you’ll know you can rely on yourself. Others will notice, too, and you’ll gain a reputation for being dependable.
– You’ll be more productive and efficient as you navigate through the day because you’ll have put yourself in the best possible position for it. Like knowing which train carriage to board that will deliver you to the prime spot you need at the next station.
– You’ll live and work with less stress, more peace of mind and feel a better sense of control.
What are you planning today, and what will you do to be prepared?
If you have a method that works for you, share or leave a comment below!