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We need more hours in the day.  I hear this phrase all the time.  I’ve been guilty of saying it a lot!  We feel like we have too much to do.  We need more time to complete the things on our to do lists, and we’d like time to do things that haven’t even made it to our to-do lists – like our dreams!

Time is a precious commodity.  Aside from our brains, it’s our most important asset.  But, the way we experience time is up to us.  While you cannot literally put more than 24 hours in a day, you can deliberately create and manage your own time.  

Many people resist planning.  They feel that planning somehow restricts their abilities to be spontaneous or life their lives freely.  I promise you the opposite is true.  

Many people resist planning because they are afraid of failure.  They think if they plan something and then fall behind or do not follow through, they will look bad.  I would argue that losing time because you didn’t plan ahead may end in the same result.

In a past life I was a project manager.  I’ve worked on a lot of projects – some repetitive and somewhat easy, and others were highly complex spanning years, countries, languages, and businesses.  Some projects were difficult to plan too far out.  When you’re dealing with legal issues, judges, and opposing attorneys, decision points along the spectrum of a case vary so greatly that planning too far ahead is unnecessary, until it becomes necessary.  This required lots of flexibility – or agile planning.  But even though we would have major crossroads along the way, we were still able to make a lot of decisions ahead of time.  This was very freeing!  This allowed us to more fully strategize and provide our client with a road map.  When we didn’t take the time to plan ahead, we’d spend double or triple the time needed to get the same tasks complete.

Pull the thread of this thought…

The secret to creating more time is to deliberately plan ahead and to make decisions ahead of time.  

Taking the time to make a plan whether it’s achieving something really big or something just mundane, can be life changing.  Have you ever forgotten to do something?  Have you ever “planned” to do something, but there was a critical step in the process you forgot to do?  Thinking through what you’re trying to achieve ahead of time may not flush out every single detail, but it will get you closer than thinking off the cuff.

Planning ahead gives you the ability to make decisions ahead of time.  Now, this is super powerful stuff!  An easy example of this is taking a vacation.  It may sound free and sexy to simply decide to take a vacation and walk out the door.  Which airline will you fly?  What hotel will you stay in when you get there?  What sites will you see when you’re there?  What’s your budget?  Wait, where are we even going?  Knowing that you have a $5,000 budget to go to Hawaii gets you close.  Knowing that you have a $5,000 budget, are flying Hawaiian Airlines to the Big Island of Hawaii, from June 1- June 8, and are staying at the Hawaiian Inn frees up time to actually see the active volcanoes and go surfing.  If you have only one week to travel, the last thing you want to do is spend half of that time figuring out where you’re going and what you’re doing.  

This sounds very simple and planning a vacation is something that most of us can get behind, but the same process can be applied to your work life, home life, and dreams.  You can make a plan for your dreams.  You can decide ahead of time (even if only out so far) what tasks you need to complete and when they need to be completed.  You can deliberately decide when you’ll complete those tasks and then honor the plan.  These small pieces, or quick wins, will build over time.  Deciding ahead of time what you need to do and honoring that decision is freeing.  You no longer have to think about that piece of the puzzle.  Indecision wastes so much time.  

A dream without a plan is just a wish. – Katherine Paterson 

Don’t know how to plan?

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