Planning Ahead

Planning Ahead

Crazy driver

I took this picture on the way to a meeting the other day. As you can see, the lady driving the car has her little dog right up front with her in the driver’s seat.

Because we were driving (and I know how some of our local drivers are – think New York cabbies!), I couldn’t help but think of some of the things that could go wrong:

  • A car suddenly brakes in front of her.
  • A child runs out in front of the car.
  • She’s rear-ended by the driver behind.
  • The dog sees another dog and starts going wild.

All of these scenarios – and probably a few more – would all lead to the same result, and it wouldn’t be pretty for either the driver or her dog.

Because she didn’t plan ahead.

She didn’t take into consideration what might happen, so she let everything go to fate. Fair enough – but sometimes we need to make sure that planning ahead is core to all we do. Some of this could include:

Planning Ahead For Your Business

We like to think we’ll know what to do when our business hits a rough patch. But do we? Do we know to have X amount set aside to pay the bills, employees, contractors and ourselves? Do we make our business and/or marketing plans flexible enough to be able to change on the fly? Do we plan for trends in the marketplace and how we’ll overcome them? Do we plan ahead on changes in the administration of our countries and different mindsets to our current business approaches?

Planning Ahead In Your Job

There used to be a time when you had a job for life. No more. Now, you’e lucky you’re at the same place for more than a couple of years. So how are you planning ahead for that? Are you taking a night school course to expand your skills for a new career? Are you keeping on top of industry news about your employer or their industry? Are you planning ahead in case your employer goes bust tomorrow? Are you planning how to use the contacts you’re making when/if push comes to shove?

Planning Ahead On Your Blog

If you blog, you may or may not have a blogging schedule. Myself, I pretty much write when an idea comes to me and I’ll write almost there and then – I don’t have any drafts. But what if I fell ill, and my blog was dead for a month or more? Are you planning on having a back-up plan for you falling ill? Or vacations? Or if your server goes down, or your host goes out of business?

Planning Ahead In Your Life

Okay, this is probably the hardest to plan ahead for, since life is pretty good at throwing us curve balls. But there are still ways we can plan ahead, either for us or for those around us. For instance, have you planned how much extra you can put to the mortgage to make your home your own faster? Or how you’ll cope if your partner falls seriously ill, and you have children? Who can you reach out to? Or how about the discussion that’ll arise if your son or daughter comes home one day and says their views on a topic you’re passionate about have changed and they’re in direct – and possibly harmful – conflict with you?

Your Turn

These are just some of the ways we can all plan ahead, whether in our personal or professional lives, or somewhere in-between. There are many more – the main point is that they’re all related. What happens at work affects your home life, and very often vice versa.

Planning ahead might not stop certain events from happening; but it sure as hell can prepare you better. After all, you never know when you’re going to get hit by a flying dog…

How about you? Are you planning ahead, and if not, should you be, at least just a little?

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
107 comments
Clay
Clay

I'm joining the conversation a little late. I remember the sayings of two different bosses I had in the newspaper industry. "Plan your work. Work your plan." "Hope is not a plan. We'll try is not a strategy." Those phrases drove me nuts at the time, but I actually have them posted in my office these days. However, I think the bigger issue with planning is implementation. A few years back, I was a newspaper publisher and had a visit with a project director who was on her last gasp. A major project loomed and it had to succeed. We made a plan. A few weeks later, the project was a nightmare and I returned. "Did you do this?" I asked. "No." "How about this? Or that? Or the other thing?" "No, no, no." She implemented not a single point in her success plan. That made it easy for me to implement my plan that day. One of the top questions I receive from clients, prospective clients, and folks just "kicking the tires" is "will you actually do this?" Many books on business talk about the importance of planning, but we also need implementation.

Danny
Danny

Clay, you make a great point here, mate, and so true. Everyone knows the saying, "The best laid plans", but without seeing those plans through, you have jack. Here's to more solid implementation after the plans, mate - cheers!

Clay
Clay

I'm joining the conversation a little late. I remember the sayings of two different bosses I had in the newspaper industry.

"Plan your work. Work your plan."
"Hope is not a plan. We'll try is not a strategy."

Those phrases drove me nuts at the time, but I actually have them posted in my office these days. However, I think the bigger issue with planning is implementation.

A few years back, I was a newspaper publisher and had a visit with a project director who was on her last gasp. A major project loomed and it had to succeed. We made a plan.

A few weeks later, the project was a nightmare and I returned. "Did you do this?" I asked. "No." "How about this? Or that? Or the other thing?" "No, no, no."

She implemented not a single point in her success plan. That made it easy for me to implement my plan that day.

One of the top questions I receive from clients, prospective clients, and folks just "kicking the tires" is "will you actually do this?"

Many books on business talk about the importance of planning, but we also need implementation.

Clay
Clay

I'm joining the conversation a little late. I remember the sayings of two different bosses I had in the newspaper industry.

"Plan your work. Work your plan."
"Hope is not a plan. We'll try is not a strategy."

Those phrases drove me nuts at the time, but I actually have them posted in my office these days. However, I think the bigger issue with planning is implementation.

A few years back, I was a newspaper publisher and had a visit with a project director who was on her last gasp. A major project loomed and it had to succeed. We made a plan.

A few weeks later, the project was a nightmare and I returned. "Did you do this?" I asked. "No." "How about this? Or that? Or the other thing?" "No, no, no."

She implemented not a single point in her success plan. That made it easy for me to implement my plan that day.

One of the top questions I receive from clients, prospective clients, and folks just "kicking the tires" is "will you actually do this?"

Many books on business talk about the importance of planning, but we also need implementation.

Danny
Danny

Clay, you make a great point here, mate, and so true.

Everyone knows the saying, "The best laid plans", but without seeing those plans through, you have jack.

Here's to more solid implementation after the plans, mate - cheers!

Graham Francois
Graham Francois

Nice article but on an unrelated matter... Please don't take pictures of stuff - especially pictures of other people doing stupid sh*t - while driving your car. As a motorcyclist, my life depends on planning ahead and constantly adjusting to a changing environment. Driving and (fill in the blank) makes that environment that much more unpredictable and dangerous. It's like... driving with a dog in your lap.

Danny
Danny

Hi Graham, As we're in Canada, I'm actually on the passenger side. :)

Graham Francois
Graham Francois

Nice article but on an unrelated matter...

Please don't take pictures of stuff - especially pictures of other people doing stupid sh*t - while driving your car. As a motorcyclist, my life depends on planning ahead and constantly adjusting to a changing environment.

Driving and (fill in the blank) makes that environment that much more unpredictable and dangerous. It's like... driving with a dog in your lap.

Graham Francois
Graham Francois

Nice article but on an unrelated matter...

Please don't take pictures of stuff - especially pictures of other people doing stupid sh*t - while driving your car. As a motorcyclist, my life depends on planning ahead and constantly adjusting to a changing environment.

Driving and (fill in the blank) makes that environment that much more unpredictable and dangerous. It's like... driving with a dog in your lap.

Danny
Danny

Hi Graham,

As we're in Canada, I'm actually on the passenger side. :)

Kim Davies @The Rendering Company
Kim Davies @The Rendering Company

Hi, Danny. I always have my handy-dandy notebook with me, so I always have somewhere to write down my plans, my thoughts, my poems and blog topics. With this notebook, I am able to keep track of the stuff that I need to do on what date. Although I am also using Evernote (courtesy of Brankica), my notebook just seems to be handier. :) But, that is about how far I go when it comes to planning because I know I still need help with it in many aspects. I have realized though that planning ahead is tied with having a goal. If you have a vision of where you want to go, then it having a plan about how to get there is definitely a requirement. That is what I am working on now in my blogging and in my life. And, for the life of me, I can't understand why people drive with their dogs on the front seat or on their laps! Do they think it's cool that they are putting not just their lives and that of their dogs in harm's way, but also others?

Danny
Danny

Hi there Kim, Do you find you use your notebook more, of Evernote? Or does it depend on the environment? I must admit, having it on my Android makes it easier to make notes there and then (and I have a cool little voice recorder too, so that helps!) :)

Kim Davies @The Rendering Company
Kim Davies @The Rendering Company

I use my notebook more, Danny. It's funny because even when I am facing my computer, I usually pull out my notebook when I want to make a note about something. :)

Kim Davies @The Rendering Company
Kim Davies @The Rendering Company

Hi, Danny.

I always have my handy-dandy notebook with me, so I always have somewhere to write down my plans, my thoughts, my poems and blog topics. With this notebook, I am able to keep track of the stuff that I need to do on what date. Although I am also using Evernote (courtesy of Brankica), my notebook just seems to be handier. :) But, that is about how far I go when it comes to planning because I know I still need help with it in many aspects.

I have realized though that planning ahead is tied with having a goal. If you have a vision of where you want to go, then it having a plan about how to get there is definitely a requirement. That is what I am working on now in my blogging and in my life.

And, for the life of me, I can't understand why people drive with their dogs on the front seat or on their laps! Do they think it's cool that they are putting not just their lives and that of their dogs in harm's way, but also others?

Kim Davies @The Rendering Company
Kim Davies @The Rendering Company

Hi, Danny.

I always have my handy-dandy notebook with me, so I always have somewhere to write down my plans, my thoughts, my poems and blog topics. With this notebook, I am able to keep track of the stuff that I need to do on what date. Although I am also using Evernote (courtesy of Brankica), my notebook just seems to be handier. :) But, that is about how far I go when it comes to planning because I know I still need help with it in many aspects.

I have realized though that planning ahead is tied with having a goal. If you have a vision of where you want to go, then it having a plan about how to get there is definitely a requirement. That is what I am working on now in my blogging and in my life.

And, for the life of me, I can't understand why people drive with their dogs on the front seat or on their laps! Do they think it's cool that they are putting not just their lives and that of their dogs in harm's way, but also others?

Danny
Danny

Hi there Kim,

Do you find you use your notebook more, of Evernote? Or does it depend on the environment?

I must admit, having it on my Android makes it easier to make notes there and then (and I have a cool little voice recorder too, so that helps!) :)

Kim Davies @The Rendering Company
Kim Davies @The Rendering Company

I use my notebook more, Danny. It's funny because even when I am facing my computer, I usually pull out my notebook when I want to make a note about something. :)

Mark Harai
Mark Harai

Hey Danny! You simply have to know where you're going in life, or at least have a vision you're pursuing or you'll go nowhere fast. This is where plan comes into play. I have found the most important thing to understand in regard to your plan is you must be willing to make adjustments along the way. Where you ultimately desire to end up won't change much -- however your plan on how you're actually going to get there does, and without your permission or input. And if you're not prepared it, it's like getting hit by a flying dog!!!

Danny
Danny

Amen to that, mate. And you and Srini down in Costa Rica are living proof of that mantra mate. :)

Yael Rozencwajg
Yael Rozencwajg

Hi Guys, I'm joining your conversation ! First Danny, I really like the comparison you're making between our living situations and professional processes. A few weeks ago, my car has been damaged by another one. Fortunately I'm safe and my car has been repaired. The thing is sometimes we cannot plan as we want to, but as Mark beautifully said it we can make some ajustements. But I'll just underline that it all depends on us. Nothing more. Thank you for this great post Danny as always, inspiring and motivating.

Mark Harai
Mark Harai

Hey Danny!

You simply have to know where you're going in life, or at least have a vision you're pursuing or you'll go nowhere fast.

This is where plan comes into play.

I have found the most important thing to understand in regard to your plan is you must be willing to make adjustments along the way.

Where you ultimately desire to end up won't change much -- however your plan on how you're actually going to get there does, and without your permission or input.

And if you're not prepared it, it's like getting hit by a flying dog!!!

Mark Harai
Mark Harai

Hey Danny!

You simply have to know where you're going in life, or at least have a vision you're pursuing or you'll go nowhere fast.

This is where plan comes into play.

I have found the most important thing to understand in regard to your plan is you must be willing to make adjustments along the way.

Where you ultimately desire to end up won't change much -- however your plan on how you're actually going to get there does, and without your permission or input.

And if you're not prepared it, it's like getting hit by a flying dog!!!

Danny
Danny

Amen to that, mate. And you and Srini down in Costa Rica are living proof of that mantra mate. :)

Yael Rozencwajg
Yael Rozencwajg

Hi Guys,
I'm joining your conversation !
First Danny, I really like the comparison you're making between our living situations and professional processes.
A few weeks ago, my car has been damaged by another one.
Fortunately I'm safe and my car has been repaired.
The thing is sometimes we cannot plan as we want to, but as Mark beautifully said it we can make some ajustements.
But I'll just underline that it all depends on us. Nothing more.
Thank you for this great post Danny as always, inspiring and motivating.

Renee
Renee

I also detest when people let their dog hang halfway out the window, even on the highway. If they were to stop the car suddenly, the dog would go flying out. And the dog doesn't know any better, but they're the ones more likely to get hurt.

As far as planning goes, I'm a list maker. This goes for both short and long term to-do, budget, goal lists etc. Whether or not this is true or not, I feel as though I would get nothing done if I don't write it down first.

Danny
Danny

That's the thing, Renee, it's always the innocent animals that get hurt.

Lists are great. When you can read a list and see what you've ticked off so far, you know what still needs to be done (or you can add some more).

Here's to lists! :)

Renee
Renee

I also detest when people let their dog hang halfway out the window, even on the highway. If they were to stop the car suddenly, the dog would go flying out. And the dog doesn't know any better, but they're the ones more likely to get hurt. As far as planning goes, I'm a list maker. This goes for both short and long term to-do, budget, goal lists etc. Whether or not this is true or not, I feel as though I would get nothing done if I don't write it down first.

Danny
Danny

That's the thing, Renee, it's always the innocent animals that get hurt. Lists are great. When you can read a list and see what you've ticked off so far, you know what still needs to be done (or you can add some more). Here's to lists! :)

Adam Toporek
Adam Toporek

Danny,

The way I read your post was more about contingency planning than daily or goal planning. More about "what if". The lady in the car obviously wasn't thinking about what might go wrong; she just assumed nothing would. I think you can look here in America particularly at the events of 2008 and see a lot of failing to plan for "what if." Many people failed to ask what if house prices go down, what if credit dries up, etc. Really, it's about having a plan if your primary plan falls apart.

And hey, wasn't it your countryman who laid it out years ago? "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry..." :)

Danny
Danny

Haha, are you blaming us Scots for the world's woes??? :)

Agree completely, mate - it's crucial to have some form of fall-back plan (or, at the least, a buffer of either finances or actions) to keep you going when things go wrong.

It's not that people fail; it's that they fail to get back up. Here's to more getting back up. :)

Adam Toporek
Adam Toporek

Danny, The way I read your post was more about contingency planning than daily or goal planning. More about "what if". The lady in the car obviously wasn't thinking about what might go wrong; she just assumed nothing would. I think you can look here in America particularly at the events of 2008 and see a lot of failing to plan for "what if." Many people failed to ask what if house prices go down, what if credit dries up, etc. Really, it's about having a plan if your primary plan falls apart. And hey, wasn't it your countryman who laid it out years ago? "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry..." :)

Danny
Danny

Haha, are you blaming us Scots for the world's woes??? :) Agree completely, mate - it's crucial to have some form of fall-back plan (or, at the least, a buffer of either finances or actions) to keep you going when things go wrong. It's not that people fail; it's that they fail to get back up. Here's to more getting back up. :)

Adam Toporek
Adam Toporek

Danny,

The way I read your post was more about contingency planning than daily or goal planning. More about "what if". The lady in the car obviously wasn't thinking about what might go wrong; she just assumed nothing would. I think you can look here in America particularly at the events of 2008 and see a lot of failing to plan for "what if." Many people failed to ask what if house prices go down, what if credit dries up, etc. Really, it's about having a plan if your primary plan falls apart.

And hey, wasn't it your countryman who laid it out years ago? "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry..." :)

Jack@TheJackB
Jack@TheJackB

When it comes to blogging I never plan ahead- I just write. I prefer it that way because it feels much more authentic.

Planning for life like you said is very tough, it is hard to see more than a short ways into the future.

But in business, well if you are not planning you are asking for serious trouble.

Danny
Danny

I write pretty much the same way, Jack - I think it's because it feels more instant, as opposed to having it a week in advance?

Though I can understand (and sometimes get jealous of) people who have a blogging schedule - I know I could have used one a few times in the past.

Hey ho. :)

Jack@TheJackB
Jack@TheJackB

When it comes to blogging I never plan ahead- I just write. I prefer it that way because it feels much more authentic. Planning for life like you said is very tough, it is hard to see more than a short ways into the future. But in business, well if you are not planning you are asking for serious trouble.

Danny
Danny

I write pretty much the same way, Jack - I think it's because it feels more instant, as opposed to having it a week in advance? Though I can understand (and sometimes get jealous of) people who have a blogging schedule - I know I could have used one a few times in the past. Hey ho. :)

Marianne Worley
Marianne Worley

I definitely consider myself a planner, but I try not to focus so much on the future that it causes anxiety in the present. I'm also a pretty fast thinker when circumstances change and I'm confident in my decisions. Alas, even if you plan ahead for something like a job loss by bolstering savings and whatnot, the actual loss can be unexpectedly crippling emotionally. It's impossible to plan for that.

PS - My small dog rides in the car every day, snapped into his own special seat. No need to worry about me if you're on the streets of San Diego!

Danny
Danny

Hey there Marianne,

That's a good point about feeling the need to plan too much and how it can affect your present state. Note to self - listen to Marianne. :)

Marianne Worley
Marianne Worley

I definitely consider myself a planner, but I try not to focus so much on the future that it causes anxiety in the present. I'm also a pretty fast thinker when circumstances change and I'm confident in my decisions. Alas, even if you plan ahead for something like a job loss by bolstering savings and whatnot, the actual loss can be unexpectedly crippling emotionally. It's impossible to plan for that. PS - My small dog rides in the car every day, snapped into his own special seat. No need to worry about me if you're on the streets of San Diego!

Danny
Danny

Hey there Marianne, That's a good point about feeling the need to plan too much and how it can affect your present state. Note to self - listen to Marianne. :)

Mimi Meredith
Mimi Meredith

I must not be planning ahead, as this post made me feel very uncomfortable! Bother! The good news is, my dog is a black lab and it would be impossible for me to drive with her in my lap.

Danny
Danny

Ha, well then score one for the lab - now onto sorting out the planning part, miss! ;-)

Mimi Meredith
Mimi Meredith

I must not be planning ahead, as this post made me feel very uncomfortable! Bother! The good news is, my dog is a black lab and it would be impossible for me to drive with her in my lap.

Danny
Danny

Ha, well then score one for the lab - now onto sorting out the planning part, miss! ;-)

Jamey Burrell
Jamey Burrell

First off, that pictures serves only to enrage me, and I'm in quite the happy-go-lucky mood today. Hailing from Atlanta, I've seen my fair share of outrageous drivers from those reading the paper while commuting to mothers scolding the soccer team in the back of the mini-van. Those are examples where poor planning is also putting others at risk. But I digress, back to the idea of planning.

One of my favorite quotes is "The will to succeed means nothing without the will to prepare." I may have butchered the exact phrasing, but the meaning surely shows through. I've been called a neurotic planner in the past, and I'm working diligently to allow for more spontaneity in my life --- and I'm quite enjoying it. But that doesn't mean I don't continue to plan and prepare; I simply choose to plan for whimsical decisions every once in a while.

Danny
Danny

Great phrase, Jamey, and so true. Reminds me of the short "Fail to plan, plan to fail" mantra. Sure, we can over-plan at times. Better that than not at all, no?

And stupid drivers get my goat every time.

Jamey Burrell
Jamey Burrell

First off, that pictures serves only to enrage me, and I'm in quite the happy-go-lucky mood today. Hailing from Atlanta, I've seen my fair share of outrageous drivers from those reading the paper while commuting to mothers scolding the soccer team in the back of the mini-van. Those are examples where poor planning is also putting others at risk. But I digress, back to the idea of planning. One of my favorite quotes is "The will to succeed means nothing without the will to prepare." I may have butchered the exact phrasing, but the meaning surely shows through. I've been called a neurotic planner in the past, and I'm working diligently to allow for more spontaneity in my life --- and I'm quite enjoying it. But that doesn't mean I don't continue to plan and prepare; I simply choose to plan for whimsical decisions every once in a while.

Danny
Danny

Great phrase, Jamey, and so true. Reminds me of the short "Fail to plan, plan to fail" mantra. Sure, we can over-plan at times. Better that than not at all, no? And stupid drivers get my goat every time.

Pamela Wright
Pamela Wright

My problem seems to be in planning without writing it down and then wondering what I had planned. Because of your post my plan is to write down my plan and then execute that plan.

Thx Danny

Danny
Danny

Ha, we seem to be in similar boats, Pamela - something I've definitely been trying to improve on!

Have you tried Evernote?

http://www.evernote.com/

Just started using it, seems pretty useful.

Pamela Wright
Pamela Wright

LOVE Evernote!!! I'm a compulsive/obsessive clipper. Love data in all its forms. Now if I can just write down the plan to organize my Evernote files......

Pamela Wright
Pamela Wright

LOVE Evernote!!! I'm a compulsive/obsessive clipper. Love data in all its forms. Now if I can just write down the plan to organize my Evernote files......

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