The Art of Effective Planning

I love to create lists and plans, organizing my life into manageable sections of activity. Not to mention that marking things off a to-do list is absolutely empowering.

If you think I’m a bit strange, there have been entire books devoted to planning, organization, and lists. Most experts agree that creating a good plan or list is an art. It’s all about finding what works for you.

This is no joke. I’ve pinpointed several good strategies that have really worked. My overall productivity has increased dramatically as a result.

It’s always a good idea to begin with the ideal conditions in mind. If the weather is perfect, everyone shows up, and you ordered the right amount of food…this is the basis of a good plan. Always plan for the ideal, but be prepared for the unexpected. The worst thing you can do is have no plan if something goes wrong.

Don’t make it harder on yourself—you haven’t even included the people yet.

Not everyone sees the benefit of following your well-crafted, ingenious plan. Not everyone gets the memo or likes what you have lined up. Some people won’t understand what you’re asking them to do no matter how you explain it. Like I said, implementing the execution of a plan is a lot harder than creating it. Be prepared to factor in these obstacles as well.

And who knows? Maybe someone has a better idea of how to get something done. Don’t be a jerk. A good plan can only become better.

This advice has been tested. I used to be horrible about either not planning or freaking out when things didn’t go my way. True balance lies somewhere in the middle. Maybe what I’ve suggested won’t work for you. That’s okay too. Find something that does and go for it.

Here’s what you cannot afford to do any longer: To sit around and wonder why nothing is getting done. 

Question: What strategies have worked best for you when you’re planning something?

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