Working the Plan

brown wooden blocks on white surface

“Plan your work, and work your plan!” Slogans like this are easy to say and easy to remember. However, planning isn’t always easy to actually do. Today, let’s talk about why plans rarely seem to work as we think they will – and why we need them anyway.

Perhaps you have noticed, in the past, that making plans very seldom works. Well, at least not in the exact manner we expect when we write them. We have a goal. We break it down into action steps, and estimate how long each step will take. Then we implement the plan until we reach the goal.

But when we achieve the goal, we look back and see that very little actually went exactly as we had planned. Some things took longer, some things took less time; some things were skipped altogether, while other things we never expected required last-minute attention and quick decision-making.

However, without that “faulty” plan we started with, we might never have achieved our goal at all. So even though a lot of plans may not work out the way we expect them to, without them we would wind up stuck in the mud of our own procrastination and lack of direction. Without a plan, it can be very difficult to see if we have made any progress.

When an airplane takes off, the pilot has a detailed plan to govern the trip, and it has been filed with air traffic control. Do you have a plan for getting what you want in life? Do you plan your time day by day, maybe hour by hour, to ensure that you are moving forward toward your goals? Do you put your plans in writing, and adjust them as you go? Do others close to you have an idea where you are going, so that they can be supportive?

If so, good for you! You are more likely to get to where you want to go than those who just fly through life by the seat of their pants, hoping they will make it. But then, you already know that don’t you? That is why you make plans in the first place.