Time Management (Part 4): Planning

Simply put, planning can be defined as considering your tomorrow today. It’s amazing how many people simply don’t plan. An old adage says ‘fail to plan and you plan to fail’. How true.

All our previous talk of prioritization and personal boundaries fall apart if we do not consider planning. It’s interesting that the etymologcial root of the word procrastinate is the Latin crastinus, meaning belonging to tomorrow. How often do we simply put things off we need to plan!? After all, dreams without plans are just fantasies. Planning involves time. It involves commitment. It involves decision-making. These three things are actually the biggest challenges for many of us in making good plans.

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I’ve addressed the challenge of time in my previous post on prioritization. If we know what we should be doing, it helps define the use of our time. Planning can be part of that – we need to plan to plan!

Commitment and decision-making are really where the rubber hits the road. How serious are you in achieving your dreams? Then you need to plan! A lot of people love writing down dreams but never take the next step of creating a practical plan to reach those goals, complete with deadlines. What you do today will shape tomorrow. So plan today to ensure you are shaping your tomorrow!

It is a principle of life that faithfulness leads to fruitfulness. If we practice doing what is needed to be done to develop our dreams, we take incremental steps towards achieving them. So plan. Diarise. Commit. Decide when you are going to do what you need to do. Look to the future, and not just in hours, but days, weeks, and even years. Set up regular appointments and tasks. If you don’t shape your schedule, others will!

A principle in making things happen is this: when it comes to your dreams, what are you doing about them? If the answer is nothing, then what chance do you have of attaining them?

A plan is simply a list of actions. So planning can start by going through your dream list and identifying one action per dream that would bring you closer to that dream’s realization. Next, give yourself a timeline for completing these steps, with deadlines you will yourself to meet. As each step is completed, decide on the next step and diarise. As momentum builds and you see the fruit of your actions, your dreams will move from the horizon and come rolling towards you, simply because you’ve seized the day and planned your tomorrow!

To summarise, I would suggest the following:

  • Planning is considering your tomorrow today

  • Dreams without plans are fantasies

  • What you do today will shape tomorrow

  • Faithfulness leads to fruitfulness

  • If you don’t shape your schedule, others will

  • Every time we say ‘yes’ to something, we are saying ‘no’ to something else.

  • A plan is a list of actions.

Prioritization, personal boundaries and planning are three things guaranteed to help you take control of your life. What practical methods do you employ to manage these three areas in your life?

Anthony Hilder

Anthony Hilder is a life coach, writer, speaker and thinker, with a background in business, ministry and coaching. He enjoys sampling new foods, watching soccer and supports Tottenham Hotspur, guaranteeing many sleepless nights. He currently lives in Redding, California with his wife Katie.

Be sure to read Anthony’s blog and follow him on Twitter @anthilder.