It seems like people go to one of two extremes. They either plan their lives in such a way that they’re bound to be disappointed, or they fail to plan their lives, fearing they’ll be disappointed.
Planning is a good thing. You might say, planning is a God thing. If there’s anything you can say about God, He has a plan. The world is ordered, predictable. It works within an intelligent design for a plan.
Here are five benefits of being a planner yourself:
- Planning sees the big picture. Too often we’re so busy running from one appointment to another, going from one place to another, often all we can see is what’s in front of us rather than the bigger picture. Planning demands that we stop, step back, and see the big picture, where we fit into it, and where we’d like to end up in it.
- Planning generates focus. I’ve often said that once you can figure out what matters most to you, you focus on that and let everything else go by. If there’s anything characteristic about the day in which we live, it’s all the distractions that come our way. We live in an endless stream of voices and noise, calling us to embrace this thing or that thing, or to choose me over someone else. Planning allows you to step back and filter out the many things that could be good, from the things that could truly be great.
- Planning allows for pacing. If I have a plan, then all I have to do today is work today’s part of that plan. I don’t have to do everything, go every place, go to every experience I’ve been invited to embrace. I simply narrow my limits to the things that help me achieve my plan.
- Planning creates innovation. Inevitably when you make a plan, you identify a problem. Maybe that’s why a lot of people avoid planning, as planning is really identifying the problems ahead on the way to a preferred destination. But that’s the very thing we were made for. We’re problem-solvers. We’re innovators. We’re created in the image of the most creative person in the entire universe. And when we employ that creativity to problems, we have innovation. Without a plan, we simply adopt old methods and stale perspectives.
- Planning leverages my limits. Maybe this is the most important part of planning. Planning recognizes I only have so much energy and time; so many resources and talents. I can only meaningfully embrace a few things. Planning then allows me to neglect those things that should be neglected, and pour maximum portions of my energy, time, and attention into those areas that will give me the greatest result.
No, I don’t live to plan, but I do plan to live. And if you want to make the most of your one and only life, you must have a plan.
Ask yourself: What’s my mission? which answers the question, what matters most to me? What’s my vision? which answers the question, where do I want to end up? And what are my goals? which answers the question, how am I going to get there?