24 February 2016

Smart Planning

Image: Cover Image of the Smart Planning Feature Article by Project JeForceX.

Regardless of how old you are and which stage of life you are at, it is very important to plan for the future. When it comes to planning for the future, there are many common pitfalls that planners are not aware of, and would become pretty much frustrated when they realized that there is little to no progress after investing a considerable amount of time and effort. Why is that so?


Specific

Photo: figma Asuna raising and pointing her sword towards a distant direction.

When your plan is not specific enough, you end up chasing the white rabbit, sending you further and further away from your intended destination. Upon realizing that you been way too ambiguous in your planning, it is time to stop whatever you have been doing, take a step back, and admit that you did indeed made a careless mistake. It is always better to be late than never.


Ambiguous Plan
Learn and develop myself into a Media Professional. Maybe make some money out of it. Oh yeah!

Specific Plan
Learn and develop myself into a Media Professional who specializes in the fields of journalism and editorial, offering a wide spectrum of media services from feature articles about Japanese Popular Culture and product reviews to on-site events coverage and video interviews with International Guest Artisans.


Did you notice the humongous difference between an ambiguous and specific plan? Regardless of what you plan to do or achieve, always be specific, down to earth, and straight to the point. Should you require more information about a certain field of expertise, search for them instead of waiting for a miracle to happen (which never does).

Measurable

Photo: figma Asuna demonstrating a suggestive pose with a blushing facial expression.

How big is too big and how small is too small? What about how much is too much and how little is too little? An un-measurable plan is a great plan made for failure. Plans have to be made measurable based on its own context and units of measurement.

Unit of Measurement (UoM)
Time: Second / Minute / Hour / Day / Week / Month / Year
Length: Foot / Metre / Yard / Mile
Weight: Gram / Pound

Example: Video Interview with International Guest Cosplayer
If your plan is to produce a video interview with an international guest cosplayer, make sure to provide the specific details such as the total number of questions to be asked, duration of the video, and how long would it would take for you to process and publish the video.

Achievable

Photo: figma Asuna moving and reaching out towards a certain direction.

How do you make sure that your plan is achievable? That would depend on the objective and measurement of your plan. A media professional could propose a project as simple as a video summary of a 2-day Japanese Popular Culture event to a project as massive as a 120-minute film about gigantic humanoids attacking and eating innocent human beings.

Consider all the time, money, knowledge, skills, experience, tools, and manpower you have at your disposal. If your project requires over 9,000 years to complete, you might want to consider scaling it downwards or scrap it off and start planning a new one. You will not live long enough to see that project come to fruition (ever).

Realistic

Photo: figma Asuna drawing out her sword with a calm facial expression.

You may have one of the greatest and brilliant ideas in the world. However, if you are unable to transform that idea into something real, it will continue to remain as an idea that only exists in the imaginary world created by the power of your mind. While some plans can be openly disclosed, some plans can be rather private such as indirectly asking your crush out for a secret date.

Whether you have plans to organize an Anime Convention deep down under the water, or high up in the skies, you need to first get a reality check done. It is always great to have a second or even third opinion from someone you trust. This reality checker can be your family members, friends, or even random strangers out on the streets (if you dare).

If the responses you received about your plan are not quite positive, something is not quite right about your plan, and you might want to start asking questions about why it would not work. Should you decide to ignore the warnings and take a leap of faith, remember that you are still the one who has to bear full responsibility for the outcome of your genius plan.

Time Bound

Photo: figma Asuna looking at an imaginary time-telling device on her right wrist.

A plan that does not have any duration is not considered a plan, but an idea or a strategy. A plan that runs indefinitely is also not plan, but a routine order. Plans have to be bound by time, has a beginning, and also an end to it. Plans may start running on a future date but still must have a specific end date.

In certain situations when the expiry date is arriving but the work is not yet completed, the planner can always choose 'extend' the expiry by days, weeks, months, or even years! Be careful about granting extensions regardless of whether it is a personal or group plan as too much extensions can turn a plan into an endless nightmare of reworks and the true objective can never be reached (ever).

Round-up: Smart Planning

Photo: Layout of props used during the outdoor Character Figure photoshoot.

Smart Planning is about being smart when making plans and doing it the S.M.A.R.T. way.

The S.M.A.R.T. Way to Plan
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Time Bound

When was the last time you made a plan?
Did you achieve the intended objective?

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