Most people do not plan for success…they only “hope” for it. People on the path of self-improvement (regardless of the technology available in today’s modern world) will never achieve the success they want without a rock solid plan.

Discover why a few well-chosen goals will always outshine the mediocre results that you’ll gain by being, a ‘Jack-of-all-trades, ( AKA MULTI-TASKING) and master of none.

Success can be scheduled

Researchers asked new Harvard MBA graduates MBA this question.

“Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?”

The answers:

  1. 84% had no specific goals at all
  2. 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
  3. 3% had clear, written goals and plans on how to accomplish them.

Ten years later, those same graduates were interviewed again.

The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84% who had no goals.  The 3% who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% put together.

How to Plan Properly

Having a solid, well thought-out  plan is the key to establishing balance between your personal and professional life. Your mind becomes calmer because it now has a path to follow, with less stress and worry.  As humans we are naturally programmed to seek pathways, repetition and order. Studies have shown that, on average, businesses achieve less than 65% of their strategic goals. They also show that 90% of these failures are due to a lack of execution. The key to successful planning is all about making the right decisions and then acting on those decisions.

A good plan is born from good decisions.  We can consistently make good decisions by examining the theory of decision-making. Decision-making consists of six steps which enable us to make the hardest of decisions easily.

1. Identify the predicament.
2. Select the criteria involved in the solution (colour, cost, time, size, etc.).
3. Create alternatives.
4. Analyse and compare all possible alternatives.
5. Choose the best alternative.
6. Implement that alternative.

Decision-Making Environments

1. Certainty. The decision-makers base their decisions on information that they know is true and will confidently choose the alternative that has the highest payoff.

2. Uncertainty. The decision-makers do not have any reliable information to support their decisions, or they don’t have any confidence in the information that they do have.

3. Risk. The decision-makers base their decisions on information that is probably true such as that garnered from estimates from experts or garnered from historical data.

Analysis Paralysis

It’s over-thinking a situation to the point no decision is ever made. It’s better to at least try something and then make a change if need be. A perfect solution might not always be achieved instantly; however, the fear of making a decision must not block your way to seeking a better solution. Research shows that the utility of decision analysis is far superior to that of mere raw intuition.

The Advantages of Decision Analysis

•It’s simple to understand and interpret.
•It’s valuable even with very little data, because insights can be generated based on an expert’s opinion of a situation.
•New scenarios can be added.
•The worst, best and expected outcomes can be determined for different scenarios.

Three Decision-making tools

1. Pairwise Comparisons (head-to-head) The simplest way to do this is with an X-Y axis on a chart. List all of your options in a column on the “X” axis. On the “Y” axis, make a row of these same activities, going left to right. Compare each activity in turn head-to-head with each other. You then decide which of the two options is more important. A single point is awarded to the wining activity and a half a point is awarded in case of a tie. When all comparisons are completed, you can easily rank them in order of importance by the total number of points they have.

2. Decision Matrix (options vs. factors) Basically, a decision matrix is a scoring system for a set of options, which can then be ranked according to their individual scores. It’s not weighted to allow for a quick selection process. It  weighs the criteria in order of importance. These scores better reflect the importance of the criteria involved so that the more important the criteria, the higher weighting it’s given. Each of the options are scored and multiplied by the weighting factor given to each of the criteria. The advantage of the decision-making matrix is that subjective opinions about one alternative versus another can be made more objective. Another advantage of this method is that sensitivity studies can be performed

3. Decision Tree A Decision Tree is an abstract simplification of the real problem. It allows you to visually lay out all of your possible options and assess the risks and rewards associated with the outcome of each option You start by brainstorming a list of all of the variables involved in your decision-making problem, then prioritize them.

How to Make Your Own Success Schedule

 Part A: Plan Your Work

a. What goals do you want to achieve this year/in the next six months/this month?
b. How much time does each goal require in order to achieve success?
c. Make a corresponding list of the activities that will support each goal.
d. Feel free to add to this list as ideas come to you.
e. Purchase a day planner that allows you to write notes in the margins.

Part B: Work Your Plan

There will be times when you will not be able to follow your Success Schedule exactly because life happens. However, if you find that your Success Schedule is being interrupted far too often, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable and ask yourself a few questions:

•Do I need to alter my timetable?
•Am I still trying to fit in too many things?
•How do I stop this from happening?