There’s nothing like a well laid plan especially when it comes to laying the foundations for future career or business direction (whether you’re 20, 40, 50 or even 60 plus) or even if you’re just planning your day or your holiday.
If you’re anything like me, your life is governed by lists: shopping lists, to do lists, bills to pay lists and not to mention the ‘work in progress’ or WIP list or perhaps the more daunting list ‘work not even started but really must do, where does the time fly?’
The best part about lists is then being able to cross everything off one by one – the back of my notebook (my constant companion) is filled with row upon row of tasks I need to undertake for various clients and the satisfaction of putting a huge line through each is immense.
I believe planning is the foundation of success. One of my daughters is a fantastic planner when it comes to managing her exam and A Level workload (although sometimes I worry that she spends too much time planning and not enough working) whilst the other one has yet to master its intricacies but once she does, I am convinced even better results will follow.Without a plan it can be difficult to focus and achieve, whether it’s the housework, the odd jobs or that all-important board presentation. The best planners are usually the highest achievers.
Planning is so engrained in our family psyche that even my 12-year-old son is constantly asking me ‘what’s the plan for tomorrow?’ In retrospect, it could be why the other one is currently an anti-planner, her first teacher did, after all, refer to her as ‘contrary’. I digress, without a plan we risk losing our way and not achieving our goals.
Even our holidays are planned to the enth degree. I don’t like to waste or miss a moment. I need to know where we’re going and what we’re doing to ensure we squeeze every last ounce out of our tours.
But as most ardent planners recognise, sometimes we can forget to just simply enjoy the journey.
Ok, whilst there isn’t much fun in working through a list of chores, following your well planned career path, ensuring you cover every base so you have the best chance of achieving your ambitions is vital but so is enjoying the learning curve and the experiences along the way. Sometimes, we can be so focused on crossing out those tasks on the WIP list that we forget it really is extremely pleasurable to interview a complete mix bag of professionals and dig deep to find their take on different business issues. And sometimes, the digressions can be equally enjoyable, like the other week when I discovered in an aside that a conference speaker I was interviewing has a vet for a brother (very useful since that is also the ambition of my eldest) and when I interviewed another speaker and ended up comparing travel fares to London from our respective train stations on discovering we actually lived in neighbouring towns.
If we focus too much on our plans, we could miss the moment so take a moment to enjoy the journey even if you just happen to be doing your weekly shop.
Picture: courtesy of Ricci Hodgson currently enjoying the moments on a journey through Paris whose picture inspired me to stop what I was doing and write this unplanned blog post!