Planning is Only Half the Battle

New Yorker Cartoon - Farmer's Almanac is calling for a long, hard winter

You've planned your day. The schedule is set. You're ready to do this, right?

Not yet, according to Craig Jarrow, author of the blog, Time Management Ninja. You also need to prepare.

"Planning is good... knowing what you need to do is a great first step," Jarrow says. "Preparation is even better... it readies you to actually do your work."

Think of planning as the first phase and preparation the second. Here are five tips to help you with preparation:

Planning and preparation tips

1. Advanced Prep

Do as much work beforehand as possible. Collect any related materials several days beforehand. Review data or practice the activity. Getting everything together early allows more time to remedy any unforeseen issues.

2. The Day Before

Preparing some things the night before allows you time to get everything organized and take care of any missing pieces. Waiting until the "day of" can lead to a last-minute scramble and forgotten items.

3. Make Time to Prepare

Don't allow yourself to believe you don't have time to prepare. Good preparation saves time by reducing errors and helping to prevent the need to re-do tasks. It can also shorten tasks. For example, a well-prepared meeting takes less time to conduct.

4. Increased Confidence Means Less Stress

Being prepared means being confident. That means less for you to worry about, which reduces stress.

5. Make Preparation a Habit

Practice preparation as part of your lifestyle, rather than just on special occasions. You'll reap the benefits every day.

SmartDraw Has the Tools you Need to be Prepared

From meeting plans to project management, report graphics to presentation software, SmartDraw gives you the tools you need for a variety of purposes.

SmartDraw makes diagramming easy