‘It is always important to have a plan..’ I have been told this a million times by a lot of of people. Sometimes when the outcome sours, I also find telling myself the same. Being an impromptu person, I cherish that last minute work. Doing it at the last minute gives me the ability to have undivided attention to the outcome. This was a trait that I developed from my school going years. Studying for the exams on the eve before, practising your lines an hour before the extempore competition, the last look at the notes just before entering the examination hall- situations that had instilled in me a feeling that, there is always a last moment to get it done. My college mate used to say, “Better late than never” and I truly believed it. Sometimes things are better done in the last moment and sometimes it is better to be late in doing something.
There is never a perfect season to get something done. The perfect occasion, the perfect alliance, the perfect job never happens most of the time. Yet without you doing anything, things that are destined to happen, will happen. If you hope for it and believe in it and with the right attitude, any occasion, alliance or job will be the perfect one for you. I’ve always believed in these words and hence I was never used to a ‘plan before you do something culture’. Coming to Canada, this belief was turned upside down.
‘It is always important to have a plan..’ remarked all my supervisors till date since I stepped foot into this country. I have seen how time and energy and spent in just planning outcomes so as to minimize surprises. There are MS Primavera or MS Excel spreadsheets, Mindjet Mindmaps etc., that show the schedule and how non deference to the schedule impacts costs. Every project I have been in, there is a constant battle between the two sides of the balance- schedule and cost. To balance them effectively in a rapidly changing society is what makes an ideal Project management professional. To a last minute person like me, who has been taught his entire life and even practised the same-the virtues of last minute work, these realization was nothing short of a revelation.
Slowly and steadily I got into the bandwagon and I started seeing results right away. I started using tools like Google Keep, Evernote, Sunrise, Wunderlist and designed my life around these tools. Stickies on the wall, scheduled tasks etc started showing me many things that I have been missing out. I started showing improvements both in my professional and personal life. I would like to say that just by merely planning didn’t simply do the trick- the one area that I was able to influence by going ahead with a plan was to reduce the delta between expected and realized outcomes. Expected outcome is what happens before one commits to something. Realized outcome is what actually happens. I have seen that the difference (delta) reduce significantly with a solid plan. In a project, this difference is affected by many factors some controlled and some uncontrolled. True success is in managing both set of factors.
How to make a solid plan? I would like to start at the outcome and work backwards. I always try to use a mindmap, a tool that helps me throw my ideas out there. I take this mind map and dump its various attributes into one of my reminder tools such as Evernote or Google Keep to ensure that they are completed in due course. It may not be most perfect way to get something done, but it helps to reduce the delta. My main objective is always to reduce the delta though sometimes it just slips from your hand and you can do nothing. The best part here is that there is at least a semblance of some control. I love to be in control and whatever be the resultant outcome, I can always be assured that I did my best and I did have a plan.
“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” Anatole France