Do you know what the real value of a plan, a desired outcome, a to-do list, or anything of the sort is? It’s a little bit of a secret, and often it’s something successful people are a little ashamed of or embarrassed about.
Why would they be ashamed and embarrassed to the point of wanting to keep something valuable a secret? Because the real value of a plan or a list is more about INaction than action. It’s more about NOT doing things, than getting it all done. It’s more about being able to ignore things on the plan or list, relax, and even be…(gasp) lazy!
Because the real value of the plan or list is in the externalizing of decision criteria for new opportunities.
Most people think a to-do list or a strategic plan is all about checking off every item. This creates all kinds of stress and anxiety, much of which is unnecessary. In a hurry to get it all done as soon as possible to get some relief, most people create all kinds of inefficiencies and unnecessary work, spinning their wheels in a constant, frantic state of two steps forward, one step back (at best!).
But the real value of the plan or list is understanding that the brain does a terrible job of remembering and reminding. So, smart people externalize all the stuff they need to remember and be reminded of to relieve the cognitive pressure. Even better, they review that information regularly to confirm that it’s current, clear, and complete. When they have an accurate, thorough, externalized inventory of all their commitments, it’s a LOT easier to evaluate new inputs and opportunities and say “yes” or “no” with confidence and integrity. Thus, those people protect themselves from overcommitting (at least regularly) and prevent long-term stress.
This needs to be proclaimed from the heights. Let’s stop making it a secret and accept that when we write it all down, clarify what it means, and ensure it’s current and complete, we can decide with ease what to do and what not to do.
That is the real value of plans and lists.
How current, complete, and clear are yours?
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