Marketing planning IS important but this post isn’t about that. Now, I’d like to talk about having a plan, any kind of plan – and how it matters.
Having a plan brings in structure.
No more chasing your tail, no more hassle around urgent tasks or last minute changes. When you have it all ‘on paper’, you know what you need to do, when you need to have it ready, and who is responsible. All you need to do is organize your staff (if any), keep things together and follow your plan.
Having a plan often gives great insights, too.
You didn’t realize how many steps there are when building a new website, did you?! You didn’t know how many people have to do so many different things, to work on tuning up their schedules so that you have it all ready before the deadline. You didn’t even think about design review or website copy revisions, right? Well, if you plan it all in advance, you will know what you are up against and you will make sure to have in advance all mapped out – the time, the human resource and the money to execute it all.
Having a plan keeps you in control.
Yes, that’s right. If you have a plan and better yet – different scenarios plans, you are ready for anything. Whether all goes well or you have some unexpected hick-ups, technical or human errors, or whatever wall you might face – having a plan will help you. It brought structure, remember? You most probably already have a contingency plan – the answer is within your plan. When you have it all ‘on paper’, it’s easy to make a step back, look at the big picture and decide how to prioritize in such a way that you handle the crisis in the best possible way.
Remember – this is not valid only for having a marketing plan…
I am talking about simple things as daily to-do list, through tactic plans for small scale projects and of course – yearly updated marketing plans. Whether you are a freelancer or a small business owner (or both ;-)) – you do need to make it a habit to have a plan, for everything – at all times. This is the only way to keep everything organized, to improve your productivity and efficiency and to have a clear picture of where you are, where you want to be and what you have to do to get there. Now, you tell me:
Having a plan always helps me stay more organized and productive. Without one I get too overwhelmed. Great post!
Agreed that being overwhelmed doesn’t play well with productivity so it’s a good thing to have a plan in such cases 😉 Thanks for stopping by, Cole!
Jon Jefferson says
I have always tended to play it by ear. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.
Well, I think playing it by year is a good option when you are trying something new and don’t know where it will lead you… or testing new approaches to a problem and you are not sure if they will work at all. But once you know it IS going to work, then having a plan is better – so that you lead the whole process in the direction you want. Otherwise, you are just leaving it to chance… don’t you think? Thanks for stopping by, Jon! 🙂
Having a plan makes me feel organized and when I check things off the list I feel better. If I don’t have a plan, I tend to lose focus and forget things I want to accomplish. I hate feeling all over the place!
I hear ya 100%, Karen! 🙂 it indeed feels better when crossing stuff off the list as ‘complete’ – but i don’t remember when was the last time my to-do list was with all items checked… do you? LOL – Thanks for stopping by 🙂
ShapeDaily (@ShapeDaily) says
I think having a plan is essential to reaching any goal. How can you ever actually attain anything worthwhile without knowing where you want to be and creating a way of getting there. Having a plan gives me a vision of what I want to achieve, and allows me to take the necessary steps to get there productively and efficiently.
thanks for your comment! I agree – and it is especially true if you are trying to get in shape, right? 🙂
Off topic – I don’t mind you inserting a link to your site (or to your twitter handle for that matter), but i would only ask that you comment as a person – it’s not nice to have a list of non-personal comments… thanks!
I’m a girl who always loves to have a plan, but it is always subject to change! I agree that they always help you to stay organized and focused, but I think that they shouldn’t be too rigid and you should always leave room for flexibility!
Good point, Morgan! flexibility IS important… after all – monitoring, controlling and tweaking the plan accordingly is integrate part of the whole process and needed for success. Thanks for reminding me that 😉
I am definitely a planner, but when I start something new, I get really frustrated because the context is too new for me to be able to formulate a plan. Still though, I learned that setting small achievable goals is just as important as gradually putting bigger picture plans into play.
yes, nice addition – i am also a fan of one step at a time, all the time. Big picture is important but to be able to achieve the big goal, we do need to break it all up to small and easy-to-digest deliverables. Thanks for bringing your perspective in to the conversation, Jeri!
Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com says
I am a planner, I have always been a planner. It comes from being an executive where if you didn’t have a plan there was chaos. Actually, it would never occur to me not to have a plan. I realize that some do well without it, or so they say, but I’m not one of them… LOL
right, being an executive kinda cultivates the habit of having a plan and indeed, it never even comes to mind it’s possible to not have one – LOL – well said! Thanks for your comment, Susan! Wish you a great and well-planned week ahead 😉
Agree with you that it’s essential to have a plan, Diana. However, things never work out exactly as you plan. Circumstances change and your plan have to change accordingly. None of us can predict the future, so when something unexpected happens we have to adapt.
true, i totally agree with you, Catarina! But even when things go wrong or have an unexpected turn – having a plan, somewhat helps you stay organized and adapt accordingly. If i don’t have a plan and something unexpected happened – i think i will end up chasing my tail, panic, and not do well whatever i am trying to achieve 😀
In the age of smartphones and mobile planners, I don’t get it when people aren’t prepared, although I have to say that I really love a good old written planner…it just feels like I’m organized!
yeah, i used to have a big paper desk calendar on my desk and toward the end of the week, it was getting a mess with so many things being crossed over or color coded for rescheduling and stuff LOL – now i use google calendar and it is way easier to edit my week schedule. As for more serious plans (e.g. marketing plan or tactic plan for a campaign) – i definitely prefer them in a word doc PLUS timeline in a project management tool rather than on paper 😉 What mobile planners do you use, Steph?
I love my old school moleskin because it allows me to jot down notes for my book, blog, etc. but when it comes to mobile, I use Schedule Planner on Android and I have zero complaints about it at this time! I’m also waiting for Zen Planner for Android to see if it makes sense.
cool, thanks for sharing, Steph – i will be sure to check them both out 😀
Amanda Cripps says
Great post! A goal seems so much more manageable when you lay it out in a plan–it becomes tangible and visible instead of abstract and overwhelming. Definitely keeping this in mind when conquering my own goals!
Amanda @ liberalartslife.com
thanks for stopping by, Amanda! Plan = structure – and sometimes that is all control-freaks like me need 😉
Debra Yearwood says
You are spot on Diana. I work with a productivity coach to mange the various projects I juggle and one of the first things she suggests is making a plan. A plan for the day, a plan for the week, a plan for each project. It allows you to tackle the individual requirements of each activity based on the available time you have and the order things need to be done in.
Thanks for your comment, Debra – i couldn’t agree more. Having a plan frees your mind and focuses you on the execution. When you have the steps put on paper, all you have to do is follow them, right? 😀