Don’t get me wrong, I’m big on planning. However, I have come to the conclusion that from time to time, planning is more inefficient than it is efficient. When I say "planning," I mean writing out a map of your planned future out on paper, not the sort of planning we do every minute of every day.
We all have the ability to plan in our heads. Some can plan much further ahead than others, like a master chess player compared to the average individual. But when it comes to drawing up long-term plans in detail, I sometimes wonder if they are worth the paper they’re drawn on.
There are some advantages to planning ahead of time, but we should remain flexible and do our best to reason which things should and shouldn’t be planned for. Sometimes, it really is just a waste of time. Here are a few reasons planning might just be a bad idea:
1. The Plan Almost Never Plays Out In Reality
The first thing to remember is that no matter how well you plan, no matter how prepared you believe yourself to be, you will, from time to time, be caught off guard -- more often than you’d expect. Planning is only beneficial when things actually work out the way they're planned.
We try to foresee the future and plan out our actions in order to get the desired result; however, we cannot foresee everything. Things we don’t expect will occur more often than not and our plans will be rendered useless.
2. First You Worry That Things Will Go Wrong; If Things Do Go Wrong, You Feel Disappointed
When you plan things out, you create expectations for the future. You want the future to play out in the way you planned and then most likely worry about what will happen when things don’t go the way you planned.
Sure, you may have a backup plan and even a backup-backup plan, but you can’t possibly plan for every possibility. Attempting to do so will do nothing but waste your precious time.
3. Plans Can Sometimes Take More Time To Make Than Save
Having a general plan can be useful because it's important for you to have as a reminder to look back on as you make progress. However, planning out the littlest of details is time-consuming and the tradeoff usually isn’t worth it.
You will spend more time planning out the details, which are most likely to change as it is, than the amount of time you will save by making said plans. Some decisions don’t need prior planning and can be made on the spot. Figure out which those are and don’t think about them until you have to.
4. They Shield Our Eyes From Other Options Along The Way
When we make plans, we hope the plans will follow through to the end. We would like ourselves to believe that we have the ability to foresee the future and control reality.
The problem is, because we want the plan to work so badly, we are blind to other opportunities that may come our way. Plans are only good if they are extremely flexible. If they aren’t, they will make you close-minded and you won’t even realize it.
5. Making Adjustments On The Fly Is Likely To Be More Difficult
Likewise, because we like sticking to our plans, we will be reluctant to make quick changes when such are needed.
We are aiming at the ideal outcome, not the actual outcome, and therefore, we often choose to ignore the full reality of the situation. You can’t plan for every possible turn of events, but you can be well prepared to handle the majority of them.
6. It’s Arguably An Illogical Practice
Plans never work out exactly the way you hope them to -- there are always tweaks, turns and changes. We can’t possibly plan something out to the very last detail; yet, we try anyway.
The chance of something changing is next to none, but we continue to plan in hopes that it will be the first time things go just right, like they do in the movies.
Since just about anything can happen at any time and things can change course almost sporadically, how much sense does it make to create plans at all? Maybe we would be better off only to plan as far as our minds are capable of planning and then let the rest unfold as we go.
Top Photo Courtesy: Picstopin