I’m pretty lucky. I also make lots of plans: daily plans, work plans, meal plans and business plans. I’ve learned over the years though, that life doesn’t always go as planned and being lucky only gets you so far.
Murphy sneaks in like a thief in the night and the best laid plans are suddenly blown out of the water.
Preparing for the unknown and unknowable is crucial in a constantly changing environment. It’s impossible to prepare for every single scenario, but you have to be prepared for anything. Part of being prepared is being able to think-outside-the-box and being flexible.
My eighth-grade teacher (Mrs. Boda) drilled the 5-P’s into us so often that they became one of those phrases you never forget: Prior Planning PreventsPoor Performance. Preparation isn’t about planning for a specific task or event, it’s about setting yourself up for success in life – and life has many twists and turns.
Here are some tips to help you be better prepared:
- Do It the Night Before – Preparation the “day of” is a recipe for disaster. When you have a proposal or a presentation to make, do you lay your clothes out the night before? Are your handouts printed, your slides organized? Do you have an extra projector bulb and your presentation saved on a memory stick in your briefcase just in case?
- When Possible, Do It Well in Advance – The further in advance you prepare, the more time you have to remedy any unforeseen obstacles. Gather materials for that big event several days beforehand.
- Do the Pre-Work – Preparation is about doing the work in advance, reading the materials, reviewing the data, practicing the activity. It’s all about being ready.
- Save Time – Many use the excuse that they don’t have extra time to prepare in advance. Yet, preparing actually saves time. It reduces errors, prevents re-work, and shortens activities. Have you noticed properly prepared meetings take much less time to conduct?
- Make It a Habit – Make preparation part of your lifestyle, not something you do once in a blue moon. Preparation should be part of your daily habits.
Few people plan their day. Fewer still take the time to prepare. Make it your goal to be one of the few who do.