Having a plan is more than knowing what you want to do and how you want to do it, but it means writing it down. It does not need to be elaborate, but the KEY is, its physically based and, as such, means you can revise it, and compile versions of it.
Having a plan means you have somewhere to push off of, and never mind accounting to your boss, your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your kids, your friends, your wife or husband, but you account to YOURSELF.
Then if you have a plan, you don’t just stuff it away, but you revisit it. Maybe print it and carry it with you . Fold it in half and keep it right next to you, or keep it in your pocket, or wallet, or keep a copy on your passenger seat. It is a living document.
Here is the thing. In an era of smart phones, folks are so connected that instead of being more effective, often folks are far less so. All that power in the phone and desktop gives the illusion of control, capture, and access.
So print it out. Once you do so, the document is NOT in the PC or SmartPhone, but THE document is the source and where action now occurs. Mark it up. Write notes on it. Use red, green pens. Cross out what you do and put question marks next to things. And instead of the laborious process of accessing files, versions, edits, all that jazz, just write on your paper. Architects know how to do this well. They keep what is called a checkset, and all the client and team changes are recorded there. Things are done or not done. You cannot be half pregnant. Same in coordination and project management.
Do it, pend it, start it, or finish it. Establish it, refine it, run it, distribute it, collaborate on it, measure it. But do it physically, not just in your head. The world has become so virtualized, physical existence systems for data and plans are needed now more than ever.
All these files, datasets, records make us think we are in control. We are not. Instead do what the great, former Fidelity Magellan mutual fund manager Peter Lynch called ‘walk around management’.
Project management is not ERP or SAP R3, not Primavera P6, nor Salesforce.com or MS Project but a remarakbe thing called PAYING ATTENTION. You need to see stuff all at once to do that. Physically! All in one place. Not on a PC. I love my PC but it does not do it all. You do.