Effective plans: How to make one?

Chances are that you woke up today with a plan that you have already failed to keep up with. Chances are that it was one of those very effective plans that could have turned your life around. Chances are that you hate yourself for not keeping up with your plan. Chances are that failing to keep up with your plans is almost becoming a habit. And chances are that you have started feeling that nothing can be done about it. These chances are not at all as sweet as the chances this song talks about.

Effective Plans: What are they?

A plan can be called effective if it has a high probability of getting implemented and manages to achieve what you desire of it to achieve. But the real question is what distinguishes good plans from the bad ones, right at the point of conception, right at the point when they are made. Well, the answer is clarity of thought. Now there are two key things which are critical to making effective plans and achieving the required clarity of thought. And I will tell you about both of them in the next two paragraphs.

The first and the most important thing is to not make plans which rely on you changing yourself all of sudden from today or the very next day. What this means is that you can not expect that just because you thought of a few brilliant things right now and probably put it on a piece of paper your life is going to change. Instead, when making a plan take into account the time that would be required in transitioning to the state that you wish to be in. So, in your plan you must also keep some time for yourself, that you require for adjusting to the plan.

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.                             Effective plans: What makes them effective?

The second and equally important aspect is to set targets, or what people like to call milestones. A lot of them! Which are short term as well as long-term. What this means is that when you make a plan, don’t just plan the end result. Plan each and every step of it. For example, if your aim is to kill everyone on the planet by year end. You cant just write ‘Kill Everyone’ on a piece of paper, set a date and then set out to find a hydrogen bomb. That will not work. What might work is a plan where you know exactly how many people are to be killed and by what date. And what steps need to be taken to achieve that. Along with that, as you go on, keep track of whether or not you are achieving the targets (milestones) that you had set. *Statuatory warning* – Don’t ever make such a plan! It is idiotic and pointless.

A Sample effective plan

I will leave you with a sample example of how you should make your plans. If you are in a habit of getting up at 9 in the morning and then rushing to school, where you hardly learn anything and then you get back home too tired to do anything, so you try to relax for a little while, but then that ‘relaxing time’ gets out of hand and by the time you are done relaxing it is already dinner time. And then you promise yourself that you are going to do some serious work after dinner, only to realise later that you had forgotten all about the sleep monster. And now the sleep monster is beating you left and right. That is when you usually decide to make a brilliant plan for the next day and then just go to sleep. And then the next day comes, where you stand by and witness the death of another one of your brilliant plans.

If that is similar to your story, then here is a sample plan for you:

Outline of Plan: In two weeks from now, I will start waking up at 6 in the morning because I can never study at night. For this I will start waking up 15 minutes earlier than the time I woke up the previous day. Also I must study for at least four hours a day, because everyone has told me that if I study for four hours everyday I will be able to clear the entrance exam (which is true by the way, if you make sure you do it everyday). Since I clearly have two hours in the morning, I must also study for two hours in the evening. I will do one hour right after i come home. No matter how tired I am. Then I will rest and I will do one hour before dinner. This will also leave me with ample time to relax and do other things.

Then time of duration of after school and before dinner time study can be started with 15 mins only and then I can keep increasing it by 10-15 minute everyday and then in two weeks I will be doing exactly that I need to be doing. End of perfect plan!

Milestones:

  1. By the fourth day my study time should at least have reached 90 mins
  2. By the end of the week I must definitely reach two hours of study in the day and I must be waking up by 7:30 at least.
  3. By the tenth day I must be studying at least 3 hours a day and waking up by 6:30
  4. By the end of two weeks I wish to have achieved what I set out for and there on must maintain it so.

An alumnus of IIT Bombay himself, Bhanu Pratap has spent more than five years coaching students for IIT. In his new role as Product Manager at Plancess, Bhanu is helping us create a platform that can provide the student the experience of a personal tutor. In his spare time he likes sharing his vision and experience through blogs.

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