Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Five : Five Reasons to Plan Ahead

How is your Friday so far? Even though I am on vacation for a couple of days, I woke up early this morning, went to the gym after breakfast, did some shopping, headed back home for lunch and now, I am writing this blog before starting some chores. 

Did the things I mentioned above just happen? No, not at all! Yesterday, I took time to carefully plan everything I wanted to do today. Since I am involved in many activities in addition to common responsibilities like work and family, I need to optimize my time as much as I can to be efficient.

Taking advantage of the lovely initiative from Courtney, Mar and Cynthia, I will be sharing my 5 personal reasons why I consider it important to plan your day in advance to accomplish the most out of it.

Friday Five: Five Reasons to Plan Ahead

1. You are more productive when you plan
Have you already noticed that the more time you have in your hands, the less you do? It happens because you end up not underestimating how much time you need to performance certain tasks or do not consider possible setbacks.

Arranging tasks can save you a lot of time and headache. Why driving around town aimlessly when you can set an optimal route that includes all your stops on a straight line? If you think in advance, you may even be able to park your car in a strategic place and spare yourself some time (and trouble) by not needing to look for another spot endlessly.

2. You set realistic goals when you plan
Try this exercise: put on paper everything that you want to do today (and in the weekend). List absolutely everything!!! Include TV programs you want to watch, people you need to call and social media time. Do you have to go shopping? Attend some social event? Think of how long you would normally spend in traffic too.

Now let's face it: how many hours would you need to finish everything you wrote down? Please, forget speeding up on the highway and sleeping less. Can you do it all in 8-10 hours?!? You see! Now make this list realistic.

3. You are less stress when you plan
We live in a high tech society where smartphones and tablets can do and retain a lot for us. However, we still put our brain in overdrive by expecting it to remember 'everything'. This adds an unbelievable amount of pressure in ourselves that is totally unnecessary.

Get yourself some friendly app or just go for the good and old notebook. Once you write it down, it is there, registered. You will make free space in your head for more pleasant things and you will not forget any appointments.

4. You have discipline when you plan
From the moment that you set up a daily plan and you commit to it, you will not let distractions get in your way. Also, because you will have saved time for leisure, you will not feel tempted to jump from cooking, to watching TV, back to cooking and answering emails while leaving the iron on.

It works pretty much how we teach kids (first homework, then TV; first dinner, then dessert), but that we sometimes mix it up ourselves for not seeing the borderline in the adulthood.

5. You will feel accomplished when you plan
Every time you complete a task or attend an appointment, cross it off from your list. At the end of the day, seeing how much you have done will surely give you a sense of achievement. You used your time wisely and therefore, you should be proud.

Such boost will surely prompt you to repeat the process again. No matter how long it takes you to figure your 'way' of planning, as long as you do it, you will be in the right direction.

I like planning myself and the only thing I have to be careful with is not going to the extreme. Whether you like the idea or not, always accept that, no matter how great your plan is, you should expect the unexpected. Do not let detours discourage you. Make sure you leave empty slots in your calendar when queuing can be an issue or that you are not sure about time needed.

Well, these are some of the reasons why I find planning so important. And you? What are your reasons? If you have not started yet, how can I be of help?


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