Planning is underrated

Man sat at cimputer with well organised calendar showing time blocking and planning ahead

Last week I got to give a talk on the lessons I learned from my, now not so recent, surgery.

I explained beforehand there was nothing new in there, but perhaps hearing something within a different context might spur some action for one or two people.

That, for me would be a big win.

Toward the end, I shared some stuff about setting priorities, creating a plan so that all you need to do is show up and do the work.

To emphasise this, I shared my calendar on a random week a few months in advance.  I’m organised, so that snapshot of the week showed my gym sessions, two golf competitions, when I was having lunch each day, dinner with a friend, date night, and blocked out time for my team meetings and client meetings that I’ve not arranged yet.

It was interesting watching the reaction of the room.

I’ve heard it before…

“How retentive is that?”

“Where’s the room for spontaneity?”

“How do you find the time to plan that far ahead?”

And my favourite – “He must be a control freak or have some sort of ‘condition’”.

I’m not, and I don’t (but I will just check with my wife!).

I’m just organised.  I can’t imagine living my life without the things that are important to me being diarised and planned.

Each year, the holidays are set, even if we don’t know where we’re going – the time is allowed for and set in stone.

This is followed by football dates, golf matches, then fixed client work and so on.

Each Sunday Kay and I share our calendars, and plan what we’re going to eat each night.

It makes life simpler, smoother and fuller.  More productive, more effective and more efficient. 


It takes away overwhelm and reduces stress. We do more of the stuff we enjoy because they become the cornerstones of our daily, weekly, monthly lives.

People are quick to attach undesirable labels to those behaviours deemed overboard or too intense.   People who work out are labelled vain rather than dedicated; people who diet must have a weight ‘problem’; marathon runners – crazy, and so on.

We tend also to be dismissive of those traits we wish we displayed ourselves.  It’s easier to label them negatively rather than address if there is a inability to manage that area of our life in a different way.

I was dismissive when I was introduced to the principles of planning.  I recognised, eventually that my inability to be productive was down to me, I was living chaotically and all it did was create stress and overwhelm.

Sometimes, solutions are right in front of you.  We’re often too quick to dismiss those solutions because it’s easier to be a judge based on our own inadequacies.

You never know, set aside being pejorative and you may surprise yourself.

Dismissive of the description of my diary?  Might be a good reason to have a chat…

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