In Times of Crisis, Planning Can Make You Calmer, Happier and Healthier

Elana Kutscher‏
Planning is the key to reaping so many benefits, including reduced stress

Disorganized. Scatterbrained. Overwhelmed. If any of these adjectives describe you, chances are that you can benefit from the art of planning. 

The problem is that planning is hard. Just plain hard. Especially if it’s not in your nature and you’re hit with an unavoidable crisis. When trying to survive all the daily curveballs that life throws at you, planning can seem like a dream or a faraway aspiration that will never come to fruition.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. Even the most disorganized, scatterbrained, and overwhelmed person can commit to planning and make it happen. And while it’s not easy, it is SO worthwhile. There are so many advantages of planning in advance, that once you get into the habit, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. 

Here are 10 ways that planning can make you calmer, happier, and healthier:

1. You’ll Be Less Stressed

2. You’ll Be More Proactive

3. You’ll Improve Your Performance 

4. You’ll Avoid Regrets

5. You’ll Save Time 

6. You’ll Save Money

7. You’ll Keep Up With Commitments 

8. You’ll Increase Productivity 

9. You’ll Stay More Focused 

10. You’ll Be More Successful Long-Term 

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1. You’ll Be Less Stressed

Stress comes from many sources, but planning ahead is one way to reduce the stress you feel throughout the day. For example: if you need to prepare your kids’ lunch every morning before they go to school but always have the same dilemma of what to make them? There are several ways planning can help you in this situation—you can make a weekly lunch plan, prepare lunch the night before, or make it the responsibility of your children. Any option you choose requires planning, but the payoff is that you have one less thing to stress about in the morning. Think about the various stressful situations you experience throughout the day and how planning can ease some of that stress. 

2. You’ll Be More Proactive

Being proactive means taking control of your life and not letting other people’s actions influence how you feel or act. It can be incredibly empowering to be proactive, even though it’s not always easy. For example, if you’re expecting your boss to berate you for a mistake you made, instead of waiting for that to happen, go to your boss and own the mistake. Or, instead of getting upset because your friends went out without you, go out with other friends. When you’re proactive, your happiness is in your own hands, and no one can take it away from you. 

3. You’ll Improve Your Performance 

When you plan ahead, you are likely to do better at whatever task you’re doing. Whether it’s studying for a test, completing an assignment for work, or even parenting better—planning ahead gives you the time and tools you need to do better. If your performance is lacking in a certain area, take some time and think how planning in advance can help you improve.

4. You’ll Avoid Regrets 

People who have a hard time planning often end up paying an emotional toll. How many times have you done or said something you wish you could take back? Maybe it’s a confrontation with your spouse that didn’t go as planned, a request for a raise that was denied, or just the impulsive decision to take the bus instead of the train. While these are all small things, they can make a big impact on your daily life. Planning the words you say in advance can help you get the results you want and make good decisions. In all spheres of life, planning is a good way to avoid regrets.

5. You’ll Save Time 

People who are disorganized often end up doing a lot of things last-minute, which can take up precious time from their already-packed schedules. Planning in advance is a good way to ensure that you have enough time to do whatever you need to do. For example, you usually go to the supermarket 4 times a week because you never have all the ingredients on hand. Planning a meal schedule in advance can save you hours in unnecessary supermarket runs. When you have a meal plan and shopping list, you can make one trip to the supermarket, and that’s it. Think about other things that take up a lot of your time, and whether planning ahead could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

6. You’ll Save Money

When you’re always running out for last-minute groceries, birthday presents, clothes, medicine, and more, you likely opt for the more convenient—yet more expensive—options. The same goes for planning trips, parties, and events. If you don’t plan in advance, you may end up paying a small fortune for food, flights, tours, accommodations, decorations—you name it. Planning things in advance can help you make purchases when you’re not under stress, and therefore, you’ll likely get a lower price or better deal.

7. You’ll Keep Up With Commitments 

When you never know what’s going on, it can be hard to make commitments. And if you do make commitments, you may end up breaking them due to conflicts in timing. Putting events, responsibilities, and appointments in your calendar is a planning tool that can help you avoid embarrassing situations. If you’re not great with calendars, check out some of these great productivity apps (link to Top 10 list of productivity apps) that can help. 

8. You’ll Increase Productivity 

Creating a daily to-do list can go a long way toward ensuring you don’t get sidetracked by “urgent” tasks and that you complete your work when it’s supposed to be done. The result is being more productive, since you can actually cross off the really urgent things from your to-do list. Planning can also include making sure to get enough sleep, which can significantly improve productivity.

9. You’ll Stay More Focused 

Many people feel bogged down by their responsibilities, and because of this, it can be hard to focus on the immediate task at hand. When you plan your daily, weekly, or monthly responsibilities, you can free up your mind to focus on what you need to do at this very moment. 

10. You’ll Be More Successful Long-Term 

Planning is an excellent way to help you secure a better future by keeping your long-term goals and happiness in mind. Getting the best rates for insurance, mortgages, and pensions are all an outcome of planning for the long-term. Eating healthy is also an outcome of long-term thinking. Instead of grabbing whatever cakes and cookies are around, you have a long-term plan that includes eating right and enjoying the health benefits. Planning for the long-term is one of the more daunting aspects of adult life, but the ROI is worth it.

Planning One Step At A Time

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the many aspects of our lives that require planning—eating, sleeping, managing a family, socializing, working, retirement! Even fun things like vacations and parties require planning. If planning isn’t your strong suit, it’s best to pick one aspect of your life to focus on and start planning just that aspect. 

The key with planning is that if you do it enough, it will become habit, so even if you aren’t naturally organized, you can train yourself to become organized. Once it becomes a habit, it will get much easier—in fact, it will become like second nature—and you’ll be able to take on more until you become a planning superstar!


Elana Kutscher‏
Elana is a creature of the digital age, and has been working in social media marketing and content for the better part of the past decade. She has experience with software and online platforms from multiple projects with high tech firms.