Measure twice and cut once is an old proverb that is still relevant! It means one should double-check one’s measurements for accuracy before cutting a piece of wood; otherwise it may be necessary to cut again, wasting time and material. It also relates to all of life’s decisions! Often, you do not think through all the consequences of your actions thoroughly. In other words, think before you act! Sound familiar?
This is a great message! How often do you just do things without planning? Have you ever gone somewhere and forgot something? Is this poor planning? If you are taking a trip, there are certain things you need to do such as booking rooms, flights and taking sufficient cash or credit cards to pay for food and incidentals. I tend to over pack and bring too many clothes because I may need them. There are a lot of details to take care of before you can leave on a trip!
It does not end with trips, does it? Planning for retirement, major purchases, buying a home, children or your children’s education are just some of the things that you should plan for in your life. When you plan for events, purchases or your future, you are taking the steps to achieve your identified goals. You now have something to measure your progress and allow you to think through your decisions. Most importantly, it is a roadmap to help you keep you focused on your goals.
- Goals – You wouldn’t get on a bus, plane, train or even your own car without knowing where you or it was going, would you? Planning is preparing a sequence of action steps to achieve a specific goal. SMART goals are specific, measurable attainable, realistic and timely.
- Resources – What do you need to achieve your goals? Sounds simple enough, but it may require establishing different priorities such as changing your spending habits in order to save more for retirement. It may include part time employment to reduce debt or other changes to help you achieve your goals.
- Alternatives – Developing a plan to achieve your goals may mean examining or evaluating a variety of strategies to achieve your goals. It many mean changing strategies because there are changes or something is not working.
- Develop tasks/objectives – Measuring your progress is very important to achieve your goals. It helps you realize if your plan is working or not. Sometimes, you can be going very fast, but going in circles. Having specific tasks and objectives helps you realize if you are making the progress toward your goal.
- Reflection – This is part of the evaluation process when you are making decisions. Did your plan work? Can you improve your plan or make it more efficient? How did you perform? Take the results and learn from it.
Planning is something many people think is only when you have time. As a lifelong planner, I find the time to plan everything that is important to me. It can be range from trivial to necessary things such as dinner with friends, purchases, buying a home or retirement, marriage, children or a business. Lack of planning usually is the reason for failure. I think most of us plan, but fail to plan enough! Being thorough is part of your decision making process. Measure twice and cut once is not just for carpentry!
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