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Failing to Plan?  Then You're Planning to Fail

by Maria Gracia

I often hear, 'What's the sense of planning?' For all the
time I spend planning something, I could already have it

On the contrary, things rarely work out when you don't

Planning is nothing more than thinking before acting. If
you fail to plan, in essence, you're planning to fail.

Here are 5 examples:

1) Gina, Mike and their two children woke up bright and
early to enjoy their first day at DisneyWorld. When they
arrived at the theme park, Mike wanted to plan where they
would have dinner that evening so that they could make
dinner reservations. He knew they'd be tired, and longing
for a nice, hot meal. Gina, on the other hand, didn't
think it was necessary to make plans for dinner that
early in the day. She felt it would be more fun to wait
until later, so it would be a more spontaneous decision.

Later that evening, when the kids began to whine about
how hungry they were, Gina and Mike discovered that all
the reservations in all the available nearby restaurants
were completely booked up. For over two hours, they went
from restaurant to restaurant trying to get seated,

Gina and Mike began to argue. The kids were irritated.
And everyone was hungry.

In short, this could have been easily avoided if Gina had
simply agreed with Mike to take a mere five minutes of
planning time to make dinner reservations when they were
available--five minutes to plan versus two hours of
wasted time, plus aggravation.

2) On Friday night, Ellen and Jane planned to meet each
other the next day to catch a Saturday matinee. They both
had some errands to run beforehand on Saturday morning,
but agreed to meet at 12:45 for a 1:00 movie.

On Friday night, Ellen wrote up a list of the errands she
had to run: drycleaner, post office and library to return
some books. She determined that would take her about 45
minutes, which she padded a bit just in case there was a
line at the post office or a little bit of traffic.

She knew she had to meet Jane at 1:00, so she decided to
wake up at 10:00 in the morning, get showered, dressed
and in the car to run her errands by 11:30, get her
errands done by 12:15, and then have another 15 to 30
minutes to relax before meeting Jane for the matinee. She
arrived at the movie theatre at 12:45--right on time.

On the other hand, Jane stayed up late on Friday night to
watch some television, and woke up at 11:00 on Saturday
morning. She rushed around doing her errands haphazardly
on Saturday morning, forgetting to bring back the videos
which were due, and arrived at the movie theatre to meet
Jane at 1:10--twenty-five minutes late for meeting Ellen,
and ten minutes after the movie had started.

Obviously, Ellen was peeved with Jane. Because of Jane's
failure to plan, they both missed the beginning of the
movie, and had difficulty following what was going on
because the first movie scene was critical to the plot.

All of this could have been avoided if Jane had just
taken ten minutes on Friday night to plan a little.

3) James and Jack both attended the same high school, and
had to take a Literature test in the morning.

James scheduled two hours the night before to review his
study material. The next day he easily aced the test
ending up with an A grade.

Jack decided to go out with his friends the night before,
and reviewed his Literature material a half hour before
test time. He struggled through the test, and ended up
with a C grade.

The next day, they both found out that anyone who scored
less than a B on the Literature test, had to stay after
school for further instruction. Jack wasn't happy, but
this could have been easily avoided if he had just done
some planning.

4) Alexandra didn't have a specific date for filing her
paperwork--she did it when she was in the mood.

But one day her boss asked her to find an important
contract in the filing cabinet for a client she had on
the phone. Immediately, Alexandra felt queasy. She knew
it was in the big pile of papers she hadn't filed for 3

She frantically began going through her To File pile.
After 20 minutes, her boss asked her what the hold up
was. Alexandra had to admit she was having a bit of
difficulty finding the contract in her large pile of

Her boss was furious. It took Alexandra over 45 minutes
to find the paper, but even though she did, her boss told
her if she couldn't get her act together within a few
days, her job would be on the line.

If Alexandra had planned to file for 10 minutes at the
end of each day, she would never have been in this

5) Each night before she left work, Tina regularly wrote
up a To Do list for the next day. She always planned to
get at least four items done, or a few more if he had
some time left over at the end of the day. By doing so,
Tina ended work each day feeling refreshed and satisfied
by quitting time. She always felt her days were
productive, and she rarely worked late.

Gary never wrote up a To Do list. He never really knew
what was coming up next. He'd just work on his tasks
randomly, feeling overwhelmed and unfulfilled at the end
of the day. He figured he didn't have the time to plan.
He had too much work. He'd end the day feeling exhausted,
although he had few, if any, projects completed. So, he
regularly worked late into the evening, trying to get
more done.

Tina and Gary had exactly the same amount of work. But by
planning, Tina made her job a whole lot easier.

Take a few minutes to think before you act. Plan your
tasks, your weekly meals, your routes, your schedule and
so on. A little bit of planning, can go a long way.
You'll waste less time, and enjoy more productive,
stress-free days.


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