So where does the emotion expressed in the title come from? It comes from when I think about planning financial success. When I think about trying to make a plan to achieve financial independence, my stomach starts to go into knots. I start to think about balance sheets, assets, investments, interest rates. I face a similar challenge when requested to develop a plan for work using MS Project and I'm supposed to say what will happen over the next few months, where I feel like I don't know.
How can I be a successful financial and work project planner? I can start by asking questions just like that one, and also: Why am I a good at planning? Why do I enjoy planning? Who can I ask help me improve my planning skills? What plans can I copy?
Another idea is to stop focusing on planning and instead thing about strategies. What strategies do I have to achieve my goals? I really like the idea of throwing spagetthi against the wall and seeing what sticks. In that way, I enjoy thinking up many strategies to achieve my goals, and trying many of them out and seeing what works.
Here are some strategies to improve any skill, including planning:
- Motivation - Ask "Why am I a good planner" or similar questions. If the "Why" is big enough the "How will figure itself out"
- Ask others - Ask other people for assistance. Including mentoring
- Copy - Find out what others do by observations and try and do the same.
- Learn - Take classes, and/or research about the topic, for example using Google
I know I am a good planner because when it is something "fun" then I plan for hours. Why is "work" "fun"? How about that? Vacations are fun because there is no downside. If my vacation plan doesn't work out exactly as I expected, it's no big deal. When it comes to "work" there is a fear that if the plan doesn't work out that I will have some negative result like someone saying I did a bad job or getting fired. In reality, the worst that has happened is that someone says something negative about my work, I can handle that.
Why do I enjoy planning? I enjoy planning because I love research. I like looking at possibilities. I like comparing different options and using my knowledge and experience to pick the one that suits the situation best. I also like the challenge of trying to get the most for the least. I like the defined nature of plans because they have a start and end.