Why Preparation is Better Than Planning


Planning let’s you know what you will be doing on a particular day.

You review your todo list and the appointments you have on your schedule.

However, are you really ready for your day?

Planning is good, however, preparation is even better.

Getting Ready For Your Day

By planning your day, you know what you need to do.

The next step is to prepare.

Preparation gets you ready to actually do the work.

“Planning leads to awareness. Preparation leads to readiness.” (Tweet this Quote)

Planning is good… knowing what you need to do is a great first step.

Preparation is even better… it readies you to actually do your work.

You could say that planning is level one, and preparation is level two.

Here are some tips to help you with your Preparation:

  • Do It the Night Before – Preparation the “day of” can help you get ready in advance. Even better, preparation the night before can help you remedy any shortfalls that may occur. (Ever find yourself scrambling to find clothes? Or looking for a missing item while scrambling to get out the door?)
  • When Possible, Do It Well in Advance – The further in advance you prepare, the more time you have to remedy any unforeseen obstacles. Gather materials for that big event several days beforehand.
  • Do the (Pre)Work – Preparation is about doing the work in advance. Read the materials. Review the data. Practice the activity. It’s all about being ready.
  • Save Time – Some will use the excuse that they don’t have extra time to prepare in advance. Yet, preparing actually saves you time. It reduces errors, prevents re-work, and shortens activities. Properly prepared meetings take much less time to conduct.
  • Reduce Your Stress – When you are ready, you are confident. When you are prepared, your stress is reduced because you have less to worry about.
  • Make It a Habit – Make preparation part of your lifestyle, not something you do once in a blue moon. Preparation should be part of your daily habits.

Prepare in Advance

Few people plan their day. Fewer still take the time to prepare.

You can plan all you want, but if you don’t prepare, you still won’t be ready.

Invest some time preparing and you’ll be ready to take on the events of your day.

Question: What activities do you need to prepare for in advance? Leave your comment for a chance to win a TMN shirt. Each month one lucky commenter will receive a free TMN t-shirt. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

19 thoughts on “Why Preparation is Better Than Planning

  1. Very true and I learned this the hard way! I like to think of it as “mise-en-place”. I wouldn’t cook without assembling everything in advance and reading my instructions so I do the same in advance for my week on Sunday nights and the night (or day) before for the next day. Not only does it make the day run smoother, it helps me get into bed with a relaxed mind because I am not trying to remember everything for the next day – it is already assembled and pulled together.

    Tote bags are a great organizing tool for collecting the things you need to take out of the house with you. I have a tote bag for different destinations such as the library, presentation materials, or volunteer work. Then I add the items (or carry the bag through the house picking things up) and set them near the door to grab on my way out. I like to set up a separate bag for each destination so when I get there, I can take the only the stuff needed for that particular errand.

  2. Good distinction. Remembering to plan and prepare is a great way to make the most of those small gaps in the schedule. I might plan to take advantage of a few free minutes between meetings and stop by the garden supply store or read a book. But if I haven’t packed the book, or the list of flowers I want to buy, I’m stuck. Why do I still forget to pack the night before??

  3. Yes! I do that. I plan and then I prepare. I try to look ahead and prepare as far in advance as is reasonable. I used to work in a law office for a lawyer who always did everything at the last minute. As a result, I did everything I possibly could ahead of time so that when he threw last minute things at me, I could do them because I had done as much of my work as I could in advance. I do that at home, too. Life gets very crazy so I do what I can so I’m able to handle the emergencies.

  4. I find making lists to be useful. For example, before taking a trip, I make the following lists:
    1. Items to be packed, with room for check-off as they are packed.
    2. Tasks that must be done before leaving with room for dates/check-off
    3. Tasks that must be done after returning from trip with any dates needed e.g. due dates.
    This way, when I have a few minutes between other activities, I can work on part of the list, e.g. packing toiletries or making arrangements to hold the mail.
    It really gets rid of that last minute scramble, ensures a better night’s sleep before departure, and allows for the most serene trip departure. I rarely forget anything needed, and “leave happier”.
    I used to manage large projects for large companies, and apply the skills I applied there to my personal life. All those sheets of paper/advertising with printing on only one side go to good use here.

  5. I completely agree with these! For us who are fulltime
    working moms and have small school kids to attend to, it can become totally
    frustrating, unnecessarily tiring/stressful and time-consuming if I didn’t do
    my ‘preparation’ ahead of time. What was supposed to be nicely ‘planned’
    activities for the day can go to a disaster if I didn’t set a side plenty of time
    to prepare ahead (e.g. unhappy moments with your partner, headaches and especially
    tantrums!). But while reading through your article and the comments here, at
    some point I thought I saw myself doing this and this made me realize that I should
    actually strengthen this and put this into practice in all areas of my life. Like
    ‘preparing’ for the ‘planned’ activities with kids, I would try to foresee and
    walk through each hour of the day and activity for that time and take into
    consideration all factors, the kids’ mood (esp hungry, bored, tired) by that
    time, the weather, etc and try to arm ourselves with gadgets (making sure it’s
    fully charged like the Ipad), toys (including bikes and scooters which are
    weather dependent) and enough (healthy as much as possible) food to keep them
    happy, busy and in the end keep us on track of our other plans. You see it’s
    all in these little but also important details that are like small holes/gaps
    in between which can go out of hand if I didn’t do my preparation at all. I
    believe it’s all about in the preparation that puts your plans into a success.

  6. I review my task list and recorded time details on every night as I need to prepare for the next day. I have found by doing this I free up most of my time to catch up on other tasks. Also I will find more time to look into other projects as well. I prefer using Replicon ( http://goo.gl/yGF1mm ) for both task and time management.

  7. My better half plans for next days meals. She also prepares, say soaking lentils, checks stock etc. the evening before to pack my breakfast, lunch, just before I leave for office.

Comments are closed.