Let’s say you’re finding yourself having to do a large task; or maybe, you’ve got several large things that need to be accomplished or carried out all at once. This feels overwhelming, doesn’t it? To make things easier for yourself, you decide to just go about what you need to do without any forethought. In other words, you’re “winging it”. However, this is a big mistake.
If you don’t have a plan for what you’re doing, you’re potentially not just placing yourself in danger, but others as well. Planning ahead is absolutely vital, no matter what it is you’re planning ahead for. If anything, it’s essential and demonstrates professionalism, something you’ll need with your career no matter what field it may be. Here are five reasons why planning ahead is unquestionably important in both your professional and daily life, and how it can help relieve stress in the long-run.
1) It reduces stress
Knowing that you need to achieve multiple goals is undoubtedly stress inducing. With a distinct rise in stress and anxiety levels during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stressful situations can quickly snowball into feelings of panic or unease. You’re most likely to be stressed over an event that is going to take place, a deadline that is drawing near, or maybe you feel as though you could do something wrong.
Planning ahead will reduce stress, as you’ll know how to approach the issues you might be facing instead of going headlong into it without knowing what to expect or how to adapt. Careful planning will allow you to analyse the situation and determine the right path for success. It does not matter whether you’re planning in advance for something days or even months away, you’ll feel satisfied knowing that everything will be under control and you won’t be worrying about that day when it comes, allowing you to live in the moment once all the planning is done.
2) It enables better risk versus reward situational analysis
As mentioned in the previous reason, planning allows us to analyse the situation so we can then decide what to do next. If we rush into the problem without any precognition, then things may go awry and escalate even further than before. The principal thing here is to take a step back and look at what is present.
You’ll need to consider what risks are going to be created. Are they very likely to happen? Are the chances very low? If consequences do occur, will they be large or small? Just because there are going to be risks, especially if they’re sizable ones, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still go ahead with the plan if it’s the only course of action you can think of. It’s a gamble but taking risks is a part of life as it helps us grow by learning where things went wrong. Failure is never a terrible thing.
3) You’ll learn to be proactive
Whenever we find ourselves confronted with an event that may be daunting or stressful, it can trigger a physiological response in us. This is referred to as the fight-or-flight response which, despite its name, actually has three different possible manners of reacting to an occurrence. These three reactions are fight (you’ll immediately respond to the situation without thinking of a course of action), fright (you’ll freeze up and not be able to do anything because you don’t know how to handle the situation), and flight (you avoid the situation entirely and, in some cases, get as far away from it as you can).
Such behaviour is an example of being reactive, but what you need to learn is how to be proactive. Tying in to the two previous reasons, this means you’ll carefully figure out what to do before you execute your idea. Once you learn how to do this, you’ll eventually pick it up as a habit and use it as a replacement for your old reactive one, making it second nature.
4) You’ll leave room for changes and updates
While it’s certainly good to have a meticulous and detailed plan of action, not everything can always be maintained. Nine times out of ten, you’ll be finding that your course of action is going to change, whether that’s in the leadup to the execution of the plan or as it commences. By formulating a plan during the beginning stage of a task, you can think of alternate paths to take if your primary idea has started to go askew. It doesn’t matter if these changes are only little ones; as long as you know how to bounce back, then everything will be fine. Remember – expect the unexpected!
However, you might find that you’re changing the plan even though nothing has gone wrong. This is also perfectly acceptable, especially since you know what your alternate route (or routes) will be.
5) You’ll know exactly how to reach your goals
Of course, you know what your goal is. It’s only a case of how you’re going to get to it, and this isn’t something you can easily do by rushing into things. By incorporating and understanding the previous four reasons, you’ll know precisely how to achieve what you set out to do.
Nobody should act without a proper plan. The thought of having to carry out a large task, if not several of them at once, can be a great cause of stress, which can be heavily reduced if you know exactly what you’re doing. With a plan implemented, it gives you a chance to analyse the various paths you could eventually take and consider the possibilities of where things could go wrong. Even if the likelihood is high that things do go wrong, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead with what you had mapped out as things might turn out better than you expect them to.
Planning also gives the benefit of learning how to be proactive instead of reactive and running into the tasks without any forethought. You’ll additionally contemplate any possible changes or updates to what you have decided whether or not it has disrupted your original plans, allowing you to calculate how you’ll reach the goal set out for yourself.
This article covered just five reasons why planning ahead is an important practice that must be used. If you would like to know how Ceed can help you live a more proactive and productive lifestyle, contact us today!