Have you ever considered the additional advantages of planning beyond its obvious purpose? After all, what is planning? I like making things easy to remember, so here is a simplified, but not the ultimate truth to this question:
Planning is organizing your to-do list in a strategic way.
How does it sound? Yes, I know there are different kinds of plans – project plans, travel plans, social media plans, birthday plans, business plans, etc…, and all have their unique approach and role. Yet, how many times have we heard “let’s have a plan” and “let’s create a strategy” – plan and strategy next to each other, sometimes even replacing each other? After all, no matter what we call it and how we define planning – we want to reach/achieve something and we have known and unknown steps towards this goal.
Now, as I made some clarification about plans, I am going to reveal 6 ways how planning helped me in my business journey and how it supported my mental health. These revelations come from my personal experience, I learned most of them the hard way. My background is 17 years in the corporate realm, where planning was an everyday thing, so of course, as soon as I got out of the 9-5 and started my business, all I wanted was complete freedom to present moments and possibilities, and planning – as I knew it from the corporate – was definitely not compatible with this desire. Now I have a different and a lot healthier approach to this topic.
So, what are these 6 revelations I had about planning?
1, My Focus is strengthened
My focus has improved significantly by bringing into my daily routine just a little bit of planning.
I am multi-passionate. I am easily distracted by all the interesting and exciting things to learn about, teach, and explore. At the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, I found this curiosity and enthusiasm as an advantage (it definitely is) and I didn’t realize that the coin has two sides. I had so many goals and desires but instead of following one, I was flying from one to the other and ended up doing a lot, learning a lot and achieving almost none of my goals. After introducing planning into my life, this has changed.
Whenever I catch myself distracted, I look at my plan on a little paper I quickly wrote down the night before, and it immediately brings back my focus in that given moment.
2, My Progress becomes visible
Being multi-passionate, and touching many things without a plan many times led me to the feeling of not achieving anything,. Many times I felt lost and I felt I was only wasting my time with all this business stuff. Why? Because I had no idea how much I had done on a given day. I didn’t have a daily goal and a daily plan, so I didn’t have anything, which could be a good measure of my progress towards my mid-term/long-term goals and wants. As soon as I started to put together a very short and easy plan for each day, I immediately felt satisfaction at the end of the day – I saw how much I did, and of course, in case of deviation what was the reason behind.
Creating a daily plan is a perfect method to see what works, what are the trigger points for procrastination and to see each step I take every day towards my goal.
3, Releasing overwhelm
One of the most joyous parts of having a business is being busy with client work. Also, this can be one of the most overwhelming parts as well, when everything comes and reaches us at the same time. What I have learned is that taking a pause, sitting down in silence, and even doing some breathing exercises helps the nervous system to calm down and get my thoughts together. This is the time when a pen and paper is enough to write down all we have to do, organize them, prioritize them and see where we are, what we can postpone, what needs detailed planning, who can help, what can wait, etc…
The simple fact of having everything written down already releases a part of the weight on our shoulders.
4, Motivation booster
I can easily motivate myself with different podcasts and youtube videos, but sometimes this is not what I need. Sometimes all I have to do is sit down and start doing whatever I have to do, and the motivation will come soon after. No podcast and youtube video can do that instead of me. When I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t have anything in front of me to guide me and motivate me. I had lots of to-dos in my head, but they were not as present as they are in the plan I put together for the day. Not having them in front of me gave even more room for procrastination and many times I ended up doing nothing, or only unnecessary things (which I had motivation for).
Having a plan in front of me is a motivation itself – follow the plan and see you on the other side.
5, Daily plan keeps me accountable
This is one of the ways the plan supports me in a very efficient way. It is true I had to learn (and I keep learning) how to do the planning the way it works for me, but as soon as I hooked on it, I was more efficient in keeping myself accountable. In the corporate world, this was something I didn’t need that much – I always had someone asking about parts of the plan. When I started my own business, this was one of the biggest learning curves – creating my own effective plans and also keeping myself accountable to them, not leaning onto anyone or any system to reach my goals.
A good and solid daily plan can become your best accountability partner.
6, Daily plan supports my daily routine
After so many years of working in the corporate world, all I wanted was having my own rhythm, my own working time based on what my body and energy level were telling me. All these sound well, I created the business to have the freedom of working when I want, with whom I want, what I want, and from where I want. I guess most entrepreneurs want the same. The trap is the freedom that arrives suddenly after quitting the 9-5. All the daily routine is gone, and the days flow away, slip through your fingers like water if you don’t pay attention. Without routine, the hours and the days pass without real focus and direction. Of course, it is good to have days of free flow, but what is the healthy extent of this freedom? We have to find the balance.
Daily routines, and daily planning beautifully support this process towards a more harmonious business life.
These are 6 ways how planning supports my days, especially my business. I still love being ad-hoc, but experiencing the above side-effects of daily plan made me a fan, especially when I hear someone just starting the business journey. These were not obvious when I was working for the corporate, my perspective has changed a lot. Some people cannot imagine their life without plans, some run out of the world when they hear about plans, and I am in between. I see the value and the treasure of both approach and I follow both. While I keep myself open to whatever is presented by Spirit, I also acknowledge how daily planning works for me, helps my business and my mental health overall.