In this article we are going to talk about the how to improve planning skills? We all know that planning, management and follow up are the key aspects that bring success to any activity or project. Planning is not some task that needs to be done for special occasions only. We many a times are doing planning unknowingly. Even deciding to buy milk on your way back home is a sort of planning. This is because you are making sure that you do not consume extra time and energy for buying milk by dedicating additional time to the process which can be done on your way home.
There are some tasks like preparing for exams, completing a project which can require proper and a great deal of planning. And this can prove to be irritating if you do not know how to and where to start. So why not simplify this process by looking at some ways that will help you all improve your planning skills.
10 Best ways to improve planning skills
The top ways to improve planning skills are listed below in detail:
1. Create a deadline
Creating deadlines not only makes it mandatory for you to plan but also creates a disciplined environment. Almost all projects and activities come with deadlines, but some activities like regular syllabus studies do not have a specific deadline until the exam dates are declared. So I suggest you to create small and timely deadlines. This will surely motivate you to start planning. Also in the back of your mind there is always a thought that says ‘I have to complete certain thing in this specific duration’.
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2. Accept the situation
Some tasks and projects are genuinely difficult and time consuming. Such situations demotivate us to such extent that we even avoid thinking about it. But we need to overcome it by accepting the situation we are in. Your professor has assigned a really complicated project to your group, and you know that there is no escape from it. In such cases, the only and the best way out is to accept it. There is no use in pondering over the issue.
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3. Acknowledge strengths and weaknesses
Everybody has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. You must acknowledge them and consider them during the planning process. Doing this will make your plan more effective and feasible. Some of you may not be comfortable with starting work or study early in the morning then plan accordingly. Make such a plan which will ensure that you start your work with fresh mind. Some people are not in the habit of doing jobs that has less movements included. So such people can prepare such a plan where physical activities are in alternate sequence with the sedentary works.
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4. Set priorities
To complete a job or project, various tasks have to be accomplished. Some of these tasks can be of least importance and some can be of utmost importance. Some tasks can be important but not urgent. So when planning things out these sets should be taken into consideration. The tasks that are urgent or important should be given first priority. The tasks that do not require immediate actions can be put in the later stages of planning. If you and your friends plan to open a snacks centre, then getting your certifications from the concerned departments should be the first priority and not deciding the color theme of the snacks centre.
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The best way to improve your planning skills in to start planning straightaway. Don’t put it for tomorrow, start as soon as possible. If you keep saying that I will start making a plan tomorrow, trust me there will rarely be a tomorrow. Even if the data you have regarding the project like the number of participants or number of days required or the deadline, you should start the planning process with whatever data that is presently available. This will give you a fair and approximate idea of the whole scenario.
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6. Write it down
You are in a bus and on your way back home and you are mentally planning to do some specific tasks in the following week. This is acceptable as long as you are in transit or are commuting. But once you reach home you must make sure to write your plan down. Always note your plan using pen and paper. This will help in avoiding confusion if some other alternative pops up in your brain. You will have a noted down plan to compare with the new ideas you have got and avoid clashing of tasks. Also, noting down your plan works as a catalyst which will compel you to follow the plan.
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7. Follow it
Once you have planned the whole process out and noted it down, it is time to get to work. Start functioning according to the plan. And follow it daily and regularly. See to it you don’t deviate from the prescribed plan. It is easy to sit and plan but the real challenge lies in following it. Do not procrastinate. Because as I already said, there will rarely be a tomorrow. If it is possible to follow only 50% or say 30% of the plan on a specific day, do it. Don’t give up on it completely. Because by doing so you will get into the habit of sticking to the schedule.
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8. Focus on time management
Check when and where you are losing time throughout the day. Spot those instances and write them down and analyze them. Think on how you can make your time more useful. If you are playing video games for an hour and watching series for another hour, you can cut any one of those. Or you can alternate them. It is not mandatory to do both of those tasks every day, but following the plan is. If you are taking too long in research, you can speed it up by using key words during the Google searches.
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9. Create alternatives
This is useful in the case when you do not have the complete data related to the project or the work you are supposed to complete, but have a fair idea what that data can be. By creating alternative in such case, you can quickly shift to the one that comprises all the data that was required initially. Otherwise you can also prepare open ended plans when you are not quite sure about the future data, and fill and close the ends after you receive it.
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Never hesitate to ask for help when you need it. There are various spots in planning where you may need help of your parents, grandparents, boss, senior, family members or friends. You may be stuck at the initial step of planning or somewhere in the middle of the plan. Or you may have prepared a foolproof plan but having difficulty in executing and following it. At such instances ask for guidance and support from experienced people.
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All this will not happen overnight. You have to take efforts to be perfect in things. By reading the above points you can answer some of your own questions like ‘How to start?’, ‘How to approach?’ . If you improve your planning skills the only things left to do are, following the plan rigorously and working hard on the project for which the plan has drafted. Let me tell you dear readers, if you ace this step of planning, then you have won half the battle already.