The time spent making plans and organizing our life is vital if we want to experience successful living. I personally define successful living as the ability to reach our goals and dreams. This allows us to determine success on our own standards without relying on others defining our success.
When I started my first company, I overlooked the importance of establishing a plan to handle finances. After a year of putting receipts in an envelope and using cash, checks, store credit and credit cards for purchasing supplies, I realized I needed some type of accounting plan.
At first, I only spent a few hours putting together a plan and bought this “new accounting software” and spent a week putting everything into my computer running the new Windows 3.0.
Well, lo and behold, a few months later the program crashed. When I contacted the company they were in the process of bankruptcy, and all those hours were lost.
It was then I realized the importance of planning. If only I had spent more time planning and research, I could have save myself weeks of frustration and lost work.
Of course in business and life, sometimes you have to go with the flow, change your course of direction, and not cry over crashed programs.
Having a plan before you start can steer you in the right direction, and give the guidance you need to use resources wisely.
STEP 1: When Planning for Success Break Your Life into Two Segments: Time & Activities
There are many good books, articles, theories and material out there to choose from. However as a consummate planner, I have a half-century of experience in the field.
Planning Our Activities
I personally break my activities into eight categories: Mental, Emotional, Family, Finances, Health, Business, Spiritual, and General.
In the beginning of each year I set a number of goals under each category. Then put them into a spreadsheet, print it, and put one in my organizer, one on my wall, and one on my computer desktop.
The reason I have so many copies, is because the more we keep things in front of us, the more attention we will give to it. Then throughout the year I choose various items, and set specific plans to reach these goals.
I typically set 60 to 80 goals a year, and for the past eleven years I have reached an average of 70% of these goals. Some I work on all year (like my goal to read 12 books in different Genres) and sometimes I set up a simple plan to reach a specific goal (like joining a gym, and setting a weekly work out schedule).
Now you may be thinking, “yeah its easy to reach 70% of your goals when they are simple everyday things”. Yes that would be true if they were things like brushing my teeth, but I always set 30-50% of my goals for high reaching things.
I am proud to say that since doing this I have done more in 14 years than most in a lifetime. Since making these lists I have – traveled to 32 countries, started 4 different companies, earned a college degree, ran a foster home, bought 11 properties, lived in 3 different countries, built various website’s, became a college professor and helped more people than I ever could have before I started setting goals.
This is why I share this list to anyone who will listen and built One Mean Dream. We start planning for success when we manage our activities wisely.
Managing our time
When it comes to Time Management, we can never make more time, we can only take the time we have and use it wisely. One way is to set mid and long-term time planning.
After setting our yearly planning calendar, it can help to look a few years in the future. For example when I set my 3-year financial goals, I established benchmarks to make sure my real estate properties maintain a 10% positive cash flow. If any of the units dragged this return down they were put back on the market.
For my family goals, I set up vacation targets to visit a certain amount of countries and plan activities for everyone to enjoy.
By planning 5 years ahead it helps to organize my yearly activities to coincide with the longer plans.
This is similar to the 5-year, except the targets are more of a lifetime fulfillment type of goals.
For example, my 10-year financial goal was to set up a portfolio of many investment vehicles – stocks, bonds, mini’s, real estate, business etc, but this was dependent on the business being successful.
My family goal was to see my children graduate, and live independently, but this couldn’t be done if their family life wasn’t stable.
My mental goal was to finish an MBA, which of course couldn’t be done without finishing a BA. As you can see, each 1, 5, and 10-year goals were established to help fill lifetime goals.
Fifth Commandment of Success: Planning for Success Conclusion
In closing, I realize this ability to plan long-term is dependent on a variety of events (like still being alive), but it is still useful when it comes to living a successful life.
The real encouragement for readers is that they begin to set up regular yearly goals, make plans, and review them often. The only real way to achieve success is to plan our work and work our plan.
The reason for this is that we are human, and can only keep so much information in our minds at one time. Like they say, we will forget, but paper will not.
So, if you desire to be successful, and want to live the life you have always wanted, then writing down goals and establishing plans is the simplest and easiest step we can take.
There is no better encouragement than when you begin to check off your list the things you have always wanted to do! So remember the Fifth Commandment of Success: Make Your Plans.