The perks of planning

Published July 2, 2022

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning and focused effort.” — Paul J. Meyer

One of the focal points in the journey of success is planning. If you read or listen to the success stories of some of the most prominent personalities of the world, they will always stress upon the significance of planning and how it helped them in achieving their dreams.

Let’s start by asking you this, “How many famous people in this world can you recall without taking help from anywhere?”

Some of you might say around 400, while some might say around two to three thousand. If we ponder at the total strength of humanity since the beginning of this world, the figures would come out as immensely large. Through this we can reflect that the number of famous personalities you recall encompasses a very small portion (around one percent) of the whole of humanity till date. The other 99 percent of the people either remain forgotten, or they vanish as if they never existed. Now it’s up you to decide on which side you prefer to be. Here are some of the golden pointers that assist in planning. Set your vision:

Many of us are unaware or uncertain about our future, regardless of the fact that we are pursuing the field we have chosen ourselves. In this case, it becomes really important to pen down your vision for yourself, for at least the next five years. Visions of things and scenarios give us a clearer insight into our future; of where to head next and keep our focus.

Start by making a table of goals and relevant time frames in different columns for each year. For example, you may insert in your planner that by the end of 2022, I need to finish learning Chinese. In this way, you will know tentatively where you will stand after five years.

There is always one major goal and subsequent smaller goals with it. Analyse the ultimate goal and then make your time frame accordingly. If your vision is not clear, your future is obscured.

Seek advice:

The journey towards success is never complete without some excellent pieces of advice. The best life advice that can be given to you is by your parents. This is because apart from knowing the complexities and realities of the outside world, they also know you the most. Their advice may not suit you, but they are full of wisdom.

The next mentors are your teachers, who are actually responsible for giving you the right amount of knowledge of the field you are pursuing. It’s always recommended to meet your teachers personally, or after class, to seek extra advice on the basis of their experiences.

Always consider yourself as a single drop of water in an ocean of knowledge. There is a lot to be learnt and understood. Advice by experienced people therefore helps a lot in the process of planning.

Be proactive:

To be active means avoiding laziness and not showing reluctance in any work. To be proactive is something that takes the definition of activeness to the next level. Being proactive means not just being on your toes, but also to prepare for the unforeseen events in the future. This also means preparing for the worst beforehand.

For example, if you know that admission into your dream university is difficult because of the high fee structure, you would prepare for it now by applying in different scholarship schemes, managing finances effectively, saving up, etc.

Time management:

Illustration by Ziauddin
Illustration by Ziauddin

Planning and time management are two sides of the same coin. In other words, both are dependent on each other. Planning can never happen accurately without time management. Likewise, time management is incomplete without proper planning.

For time management, as always recommended, make an everyday planner or a to-do-list and strictly adhere to it. Make use of sticky notes for short and quick reminders. For good and effective time management, it is important to have a consistent routine. This also involves formulating a routine which is disciplined and there is room for planning process too.

A successful future planning requires least possible factors that can lead you astray. Focus only on prime goals and tasks, and remove all unnecessary activities from your routine. This would ensure more free time for you to explore new avenues for your future endeavours.

Manage your finances:

Finance is one of the major factors when taking any important decision. For instance, admission to a reputable institution, buying gadgets, buying any other luxury, investment purposes and much more. If you don’t have enough funds or income streams available, your dream goal would become unachievable or almost impossible.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to keep a check on finance management when doing our planning. The right track is to first plan for the finances and then for the main goal. There are numerous ways in which you can do the latter effectively. Apart from the usual of keeping a strict eye on your budget, not overspending on unnecessary things and saving up from the pocket money, it is also very important to look for other funding opportunities.

For instance, there are a lot of good internship opportunities by firms and organisations which you can acquire according to your feasibility. Apply for scholarship schemes if the process has to be done beforehand, and avoid using money on branded items when the same item is available at lower rates from a local brand.

Set your priorities:

The planning process can topple or crumble if your priorities are not set right in life. Keeping it short, your top priority will eventually convert your dream into reality, but that also comes with a big ‘if’. Firstly, you need to analyse what is the most desired thing you want to achieve in future and then also see where it stands in your priorities list.

Secondly, how much time, dedication, effort and passion are you dedicating to each priority? Work smartly on that. Thirdly, are your priorities well-governed or are they being neglected due to some other useless factors? In this way, you can smartly organise your priorities list, which will definitely aid in your planning process.

Optimism and resilience:

Last, but not the least, there is no hard and fast rule that planning will always lead you towards stardom and success. Your planning might fail because of unexpected and unfortunate events, which are part of the journey of life. However, the key to keep moving forward is optimism.

Optimism is the strength that keeps you alive from inside when you feel everything is falling apart. There is always a rainbow after a thunderstorm and heavy rain. So keep your hopes high in events that derail you from your path, and come back stronger by being resilient!

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 2nd, 2022

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