I am not a big fan of sayings or clichés. Two of my least favorite are the saying that says “plan your day and work your plan” and the cliche that says “if you don’t have a plan to succeed then you do have a plan to fail.”
The problem with both of those, as with many sayings and clichés, is that they happen to be true.
I’m also a big believer that you should avoid using the words “always” and “never.” Those are pretty big words and there are usually exceptions to both of them.
That said, I would say that if you don’t have a plan to succeed you’re almost always going to fail. I’d also say that if you don’t have a plan for your day then your day is never going to go according to plan.
Now, here’s the problem with this whole planning thing: it takes time. If you’re like most people, you would much rather be out there “doing it” then sitting around planning to do it well.
The most successful people fight the urge to “just do it” and instead first develop a plan to do it well. Here’s one thing that almost all successful people have in common – they see planning as an investment of their time and not an expense of their time.
To increase your chance at true, long-lasting success you should have short, medium and long-range goals and plans to achieve all of them. Your plan for tomorrow does not have to be elaborate, it could just be a couple of bullet points. Your long-range plan should be as detailed as you can make it.
Whether it is a one-day plan or the plan for the rest of your life, the key to making it work is to include action steps along the way. No plan, not even the best plan, succeeds if it is not implemented.
Each day you should be getting closer to a goal and as each day begins you should know specifically what you will accomplish that day in order for that to happen.
You should also know that almost certainly your plan will not survive intact. It will require changes along the way. Circumstances, events and even people in your life will change and you will likely want and need to make some adjustments. The fact that your plan will change on your path to success is not a valid reason for not making a plan.
If you’ve never had much success at developing plans then start small. Just make a plan for one day this week. Adjust it as required throughout the day. Do that a few weeks in a row and then make a plan for an entire week. You’ll quickly discover that your plan will seldom stay together exactly as you had in mind. You will also discover that you still had more control over your day then if you had no plan at all.
Here’s the bottom line: if you’re planning to succeed then you had best be planning!