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Planning for Success

Before you are going to do something, there is nothing as sensible as a plan. A plan as we know it is something thought about and drafted out in advance before the real action takes place.

The word ‘plan’ does not need much of a definition. So, we all know what it means, but how many of us really resort to planning before we start a course of action. No, I’m not referring to a mental picture that we cart out in our minds that is in one word VAGUE. I mean a real plan in black and white, that is, put down on a piece of paper.

Please do not underestimate the importance of a written down plan. Once we write down something it clears up a lot of hazy areas and opens aspects that we probably overlooked.

And the most important of all is that with a plan and only with a plan can we get a rough estimate at least of how much time the course of action would take. Plans should always be time bound and there we get the relation between time management and planning. In fact planning is as fundamental to time management as organizing and prioritizing.

The 8 advantages of planning:

  • Planning helps us to have a better idea about the course of action.
  • Planning better defines the course of action.
  • Planning gives a rough estimate of the time required for a project.
  • Planning gives us a fairly good idea about the expenses involved in the project. In fact a budget is only a financial plan.
  • Planning helps us to get prepared for emergencies that may arise during the course of the project.
  • A well though about plan gives us a clear idea about want is to be done every day, every week and every month.
  • Planning helps avoid duplication of labor.
  • If a plan is followed every one will have a clear idea about his or her role.

A point that I would like to add while we are talking about planning is that we should have both short term plans as well as long term strategy plans. At the same time we should also try to draft out contingency plans to deal with a crisis if it arises. I thought it would be useful for you to have a brief overview of the different steps involved in planning.

The six steps in planning are:

  1. Set objectives
  2. Assess you present situation
  3. Survey your alternatives
  4. Decide on the course of action
  5. Provide for control
  6. Implement the plan

Whatever the plan is, I again want to stress the point that a plan should always be TIME BOUND. As the project moves along, the plan should be flexible in the sense that it should incorporate any changes that might prove necessary ounce the project is put into action.

Planning the work in your office

Even though there is routine work that doesn’t require any formal planning. The belief that it will go on by itself is wrong. Even tasks that can be done on an everyday basis can be improved if there is some advanced planning involved. Everywhere there is scope for improvement, better methods that are yet to be implemented and problems that have to be solved. And for all this you need proper planning.

The following steps will help you to make a planning sheet for work:

  • Take a fairly big sheet of paper and divide it into the number of working days in your work place.
  • The column for each day should further be divided in to the morning and afternoon sessions.
  • Divide the jobs to be done and assign each part to a concerned person.
  • Decide on which part of the task is to be done on each day and at which part of the day.
  • Put a cross mark followed by the concerned person’s initials on that section of the day on which you propose to do the decided part of the job.
  • At the end of the day, if the job is done cross it off.
  • If the job is not done, carry it over to the next day.

In this way, at the end of the week, you can find out how much of the work was done each day and subsequent plans can be made for the following weeks. You can plan for a week or a month or whatever time amount is required, depending on the task.

While you are drafting your plan and estimating your expenses, you must never forget the fact that time means money. But your plan should be realistic as well. In order to finish the task at the earliest possible date, there is no sense in drafting out a schedule which would mean that you will have to break your back in order to meet the deadline.


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