There are definite upsides to spontaneity, and it’s refreshing when someone has the ability to spring surprises on the fly. With that being said, though, there are also great benefits to planning and writing down your ideas.
Any entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur should get in the habit of planning and writing out your ideas. Have you ever gotten an amazing idea, only to forget it hours or days later? Have you ever told someone that you could make it to an event, only to discover later on that you had something else scheduled for that date and approximate time? These are all completely avoidable, simply by writing down your ideas and planning out your weeks.
Benefits of planning:
1) Instead of forgetting great ideas, you will be able to keep track of them, which will in turn help you to more efficiently execute them.
2) Important tasks will be at the forefront of your mind, if you continue to see them written down on paper. Case-in-point, I wrote down in my planner that I wanted to find a new gym. This is usually the type of idea that would bounce around in my head for a few weeks, at which point it would get lost somewhere at the back of my mind while other tasks took precedence. Since I’d written the task down, though, I continued to see it on a daily basis. One day when I was lying around not doing much, I decided to hop on the internet and check for 24-hour gyms in my area.
3) Planning will help you to keep a grip on your schedule. It’s a great way to know what you need to do and when you need to do it. This will allow you to schedule other events and tasks in days that you actually have available. Don’t forget to include you in your schedule some well-deserved down time, and time to just relax. As the saying goes, “All work and no play…”
4) Writing down your tasks and checking them off works as a wonderful checks and balance system. There are several benefits of this:
a. Writing down your tasks helps you to hold yourself accountable – if you have a task in mind to do and fail to complete it, it’s easier to brush off than a written task you continue to see in your calendar.
b. Checking off tasks helps you to feel empowered, and as if you’ve accomplished something. This feeling can be quite addictive, and could result in you wanting to complete more tasks, if for no other reason, just to check them off.
c. This checks and balance, self-discipline system ties into ways to keep yourself motivated, which will be covered in a separate article.
5) Writing down your schedule will help make it easier to balance your work and family life, making sure to devote time to both so that neither is neglected.
You aren’t locked into only one method of planning/scheduling. There are a few different ways that you can try. It’s up to you to determine what system works best for you:
1) Using cell phone apps – These days, our phones are used for literally just about anything. You can use your calendar app to set alerts and notifications for tasks/events. There are also a bunch of notepad/checklist apps that you can use to keep track of tasks that need to be completed, and tasks you have completed.
2) Using an old-fashioned, handy dandy agenda planner – And while I say “old-fashioned,” people have found ways to modernize the planning experience in agenda planners. There are a myriad of sticker and page decorating options that make the experience more entertaining and eye-appealing. There are a selection of leather, slick-looking planners that make the item look like a fashionable accessory.
3) Keeping a desk calendar or wall calendar in a home office or somewhere else easily accessible at home or at your work office.
Sometimes you won’t have a pen, or your agenda, or your phone, readily available. Use whatever tools you have available or make a mental note to yourself to note down your idea or plan whenever you’re able. Planning out your schedule and writing down your ideas does take time. It also takes time to find a system that works for you. The benefits far outnumber the cons. Do yourself a favor and get to planning.