Have you got a (Written) Plan …?

No, not yet….
No (written) plan for:
1. The next 6 minutes (the clock is t-i-c-k-i-n-g …)?
2. The next hour (NO it’s not lunch time, yet)?
3. Today ~ it could be your last: see this amazing video by Steve Jobs?
4. The next month?
5. Next year.
And ….
The truth of it is, you don’t like to plan.
You feel so hemmed in by the Work, deadlines, WIP, billing and chargeable hours that being asked to put a framework around someThing simply removes another part of who you are.
Not everyone is like this.
Some people like to plan. But how many of them execute against that plan?
You know the sort of people who get labelled: “All Talk and No Action”.
There are also those people that think once a plan is created that that is it – ‘job done’. It gets dusted off once-a-year. [An appraisal is much like this]
The point about planning, the essence, if you like, of the process, is that it forces you to confront issues that up to now have laid dormant or, at best, are in a nascent state, but you have not yet had the courage or conviction to do much more than articulate them to your inner-self (that damn voice…!).
Ask yourself this question: Have you ever been on a (life or career) planning course?
It might not have been called that but have you ever been put through a process, other than time management, that makes you think differently about how you can shape and mould your destiny?
I have been on innumerable courses each with a different perspective but I don’t remember a single one where I was asked to write a plan for my life or the next 5 years. Yes, a business or personal development plan, but I always thought that that had more to do with understanding the budget planning or succession process for the firm than it did my welfare. Looking back now I would question how sincere those firms were that espoused the perennial message: “Our staff are our asset biggest asset”. Or would it have been more apposite to say that they did what they had to but no more?
When I was 18 years old I read a book by Tom Hopkins called How to Master the Art of Selling Anything. That lead me on to read his other book the Official Guide to Success. I had no idea what to expect but one thing that has stayed with me is Tom’s message about writing out your lifetime goals.
His methodology was telescopic in nature: start with a lifetime picture and move back to today.
Now I will admit that I have fallen off the wagon several times but, of late, I have come back to planning with a vengeance. And it has been reinforced by something that Michael Gerber talks about in his book the E-Myth Revisited, namely that the most successful people in life are those who have a vision for where they want to get to and then set out day by day to get there. In other words, they go to work on their lives rather than (existing) in it.
If you really want to make a difference to the way you live your life – professionally or otherwise – then start planning. But you have to ardently desire change. Planning is not designed for the status quo.
The easiest place to start is to make a list the night before of the things that you want to accomplish the next day. If you have a billing or time target then you can drill down into the minutia but you would be better off simply writing down “Bill 6 hours”. But don’t write that down every day unless you think it is taking you in the direction that is most important to you.
Think about it in these terms: Billing done consistently will keep you in post, but winning a new and profitable client might be more of a priority. Again, it is about working on your plan not in it.
You have to be aspirational. Don’t wallow in the area of doing more of the same. You have to think how the best firm and or lawyer in the World would behave.
If you don’t think this stuff is for you then don’t be surprised if you don’t progress. As the saying goes:
“If you carry on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you have always got.”
W L Bateman
Put into action the principle of baby steps. Breaking habits is hard but done right planning can make a major difference to your life. But just like the work don’t go through the motions. Take time each week to review your progress. If your plan isn’t working change it. If you are knocked back use the negative feedback to make adjustments.
If all this sounds like too much hassle then be honest enough to accept that what happens will be a matter of happenstance. That might mean each day is a surprise but more likely you will end up in 10 years time saying that you have done nothing different and each day feels like the one before.
~ JulianSummerhayes ~