The time spent planning will save you a lot of headaches later. Below you will find my 5 main reasons to plan ahead.
How is your day so far?
Even when I am on vacation for a couple of days, I wake up early in the morning, go to the gym after breakfast, do some shopping, head back home for lunch and, I write a blog or read before starting with the chores.
Do things just happen by accident? No, not at all!
The day before, I take the time to carefully plan ahead everything I wanted to do on the following day.
Since I’m involved in many activities, in addition to common responsibilities, like work and family, I need to optimize my time as much as I can to be efficient.
Here, I’ll share my 5 personal reasons why I consider it important to plan your day in advance to get the most out of it.The #time spent #planning ahead will save you a lot of headaches later. #coaching Click To Tweet
My 5 reasons to plan ahead
When you plan ahead you:
- Are more productive.
- Set realistic goals.
- Have less stress.
- Develop discipline.
- Feel accomplished.
1. You are more productive when you plan ahead
Have you already noticed that the more time you have in your hands, the less you do?
It happens because you end up not underestimating how much time you need to performance certain tasks or don’t consider possible setbacks.
Arranging tasks can save you a lot of time and headache.
Why driving around town aimlessly when you can set an optimal route that includes all your stops on a straight line?
If you think in advance, you may even be able to park your car in a strategic place and spare yourself some time (and trouble) by not needing to look for another spot endlessly.Arranging #tasks can save you a lot of time and headache. #MindfulPlanning #coaching Click To Tweet
2. You set realistic goals when you plan ahead
Try this exercise: put on paper everything that you want to do today (and in the weekend).
List absolutely everything!!!
Include TV programs you want to watch, people you need to call and social media time.
Do you have to go shopping? Attend some social event? Think of how long you would normally spend in traffic too.
Now let’s face it: how many hours would you need to finish everything you wrote down?
Please, forget speeding up on the highway and sleeping less.
Ask yourself: can you do it all in 8-10 hours?!?
If not, it’s time to make a realistic to-do list.
3. You have less stress when you plan ahead
We live in a high-tech society where smartphones and tablets can do and retain a lot of data for us.
However, we still put our brain in overdrive by expecting it to remember ‘everything’. This adds an unbelievable amount of pressure in ourselves that is totally unnecessary.
Once you write it down, it is there, registered.
Once you write things down, you'll not forget them anymore. #coaching #MindfulPlanning Click To Tweet
You will make free space in your head for more pleasant things and you will not forget any appointments.
4. You develop discipline when you plan ahead
From the moment you set up a daily plan and you commit to it, you will not let distractions get in your way.
Since you also saved time for leisure, you won’t feel tempted to jump from cooking, to watching TV, back to cooking and answering emails while leaving the iron on.
It works pretty much how we teach kids:
- first homework, then TV
- first dinner, then dessert
In the adulthood, though, we sometimes mix it up ourselves for not seeing the borderline between priorities.Use #planning to set you #free and not to become a slave of appointments. #MindfulPlanning Click To Tweet
5. You feel accomplished when you plan ahead
Every time you complete a task or attend an appointment, cross it off from your list.
At the end of the day, seeing how much you’ve done will surely give you a sense of achievement.
You used your time wisely and therefore, you should be proud.
Such boost will surely prompt you to repeat the process again.
No matter how long it takes you to figure your ‘way’ of planning ahead, as long as you do it, you’ll be in the right direction.
I like planning ahead myself and the only thing I have to be careful with is not going to the extreme.
Whether you like the idea or not, always accept that, no matter how great your plan is, you should expect the unexpected.
Don’t let detours discourage you.
Make sure you leave empty slots in your calendar.
You never know when you’ll be queueing for longer than expected or when you aren’t sure about the time needed to finalize a task.
The hardest part about planning ahead is getting started.
When you already feel tired and overwhelmed with your day as-is, the sole idea of adding another task to your routine is stressing.
Another aspect that scares off beginners is not knowing exactly where or how to start.
If you were in control of your schedule, things could be easier, but when you’re lost and needing support in different areas, on what should you focus first?
Magic pills don’t exist (just in case you didn’t know it already).
At a certain point, you’ll have to do the work.
It won’t always sound like fun, but whenever you overcome your personal barrier, you’ll be closer to building a sustainable routine.
Begin with planning me-time first since it can also help you manage stress.
Whether it’s a day or an hour per week, set up a fixed time and commit to make it happen.
Plan ahead what you’re going to do:
- Read a book.
- Take a long bath.
- Get your nails done.
- Go out.
- Take the kids to the movies.
Be creative and find something enjoyable to do.
To help you take your first steps, I put together the FREE email course 5 Days To Mindful Planning™.
This is the method I developed and use to plan my days ahead and stay productive.
Sign up today and start the journey to become more productive one day at a time.
NOTE: Even though I wrote this article in 2014, the topic is still relevant. That’s why I decided to make some small changes to the original text and republish it.