As my wife and I were putting together the details of our wedding 5 years ago, we both realized that we were much better at preparing than we were at planning. We both thought we could plan, but realized we were really just preparing. It took us a while to figure out the difference.
To plan is to think about what you want to do and decide on a course of action. Preparing is taking action to be ready for something. So, as we talked about our wedding, we had to plan the ceremony, the reception, the rehearsal dinner, etc. Once those details were worked out, we could then prepare for the day by sending invitations, securing the location, and lining up the Justice of the Peace. Planning is thinking and deciding. Preparing is doing.
This may sound elementary, but it was a big ’AHA’ moment for us at the time, and we continually refer to this fact when we think about things we want to do in the future. Knowing that planning doesn’t come naturally to either of us allows us to focus more energy on it. As with any skill, the more you focus on something and practice it, the better you get.
Fast forward to a month ago. Linda’s company was hosting a “make your own commercial” contest that we really wanted to enter. It was going to take a lot of planning (and preparing) to make it happen. Writing new lyrics for a song, story boarding the video shots, scheduling the actors and filming the shots, getting a copy of the song and lyrics to the vocalist so he could rehearse, then scheduling a time to record his tracks and mix it with the music… all this with enough time left over to edit the video and get it in the mail.
I think we both realized that we were going to have to step outside our comfort zones and really make an effort to plan this and get things in motion if we were going to get it done. I’m proud to say that many reminders back and forth created some positive forward movement, and this past Monday we plopped the DVD in the mail for the judging.
It feels really good to have accomplished that knowing that we could have very easily missed an opportunity because of a lack of planning. As many of have said – Failures don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan. Giddy-up.
So here is a quick exersize for you if you find you are in the same boat as Linda and I:
Take 30 seconds to write down 5 things you would like to get done this week.
Have you got a list? Good! Now take another 30 seconds to decide WHEN you are going to do each of those things. You now have a plan. Of course your plan is only as good as the actions it creates. Ultimately we make plans so we can get stuff done.
Plan to get results, and you will!