Planning ahead can be incredibly beneficial when its actually done rather than talked about. Over the course of my career I’ve worked in project management and I’ve seen a lot of good plans go awry and projects started without any planning. When things did go awry the situation was a lot easier to fix and direction restored when the project was planned out. When you don’t plan ahead you don’t know what to expect.
Without a plan you end up going in all sorts of directions for without a direction. You loose your focus. Say for example you want to start a business and you’re a good developer (programmer) and good with computers. You take the leap and go for it one week you’re fixing a company’s network and the week after you’re looking after a small broken program that needs fixing. You’re passably good at all of these items but there is no real direction to this business of yours.
The analogy paints an interesting picture in that you might succeed without a plan but the likelihood is far lower because there is no purpose behind what you’re trying to accomplish.
Not everything in life needs to be planned ahead
Yes there are times when things simply don’t need to be planned out – a spontaneous trip to the beach can end up being a beautiful and memorable day. I would like to think that intuitively people should know when they need to pause and plan out their actions but too many people don’t even do that. I could be wrong but I think this one is based on experience; If the activity is something that you think will be complex or challenging then you should plan it out.
Planning ahead can save you a lot of money
When I was in high school my computer science teacher showed us a very ancient video that talked about planning out a software project. The video was dated when we watched it in the early 90’s but what I remember from that video to this day is fixing a problem when planning out a programming project might cost you $1000 in the planning stages but finding and fixing that same problem as you’re about to get into testing might cost you $25,000. That’s a big difference and it applies all over the place.
A do it yourself home reno – if you start without planning a project out can mean you need to call a plumber in when you’re 95% done and he tells you that you have to rip up all the work you’ve done to just to be able to finish the last 5%. They might not be great examples but it happens all the time.
Planning ahead is particularly important when it comes to your money – without planning ahead you end up floating along without much direction. If you happen to be saving your money you might be missing out on interest or investment opportunities.
If you are living pay to pay and beyond your means just making ends meet can be a challenge planning ahead might mean the difference between paying late fees on your credit card bills (that you might forget otherwise)
Planning a project or your finances out can seem like it’s a real pain in the butt but when you don’t do it there is a much bigger chance that something will go wrong and when that happens you lose money and time. I’ve seen both sides of the picture and yes you can have a successful project that’s not planned out but I would say these are rare. You don’t have to go to the extreme because you can get stuck in analysis paralysis where you spend more time planning than doing but the concept can save you thousands of dollars.