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1 Making plans

Sometimes it seems as though the world is divided into two groups of people –those who make plans and those who do not.

Does the idea of having a plan sound a little mechanical? Maybe you prefer to just go along with whatever life brings? Many people hate to be tied down to a specific plan, and you may be one of them! However, for big, important decisions like the direction of our lives, it is useful to balance being spontaneous with more considered planning. Another point about planning is that, if you think about it, most people do it. Often there is little choice in order to balance life’s competing demands.

A plan does not have to be written down; it may exist only inside your head. But once you start thinking about how you manage your time – as you already have done on this course – you’ll realise that you do a great deal of planning just to get through each day. You probably have some idea about how you are going to manage all the things that are happening in your life over the next few days. Well, that is a plan!

In a quiet moment you might find yourself thinking about what you would like to be doing in the future. You probably carry around lots of other plans too, such as what to do with the children during the next school holiday or budgeting for some new furniture next year. You might already write down some parts of your plans. For example, you might put together a list of all the things you need to do and work through them, checking them off day by day or week by week.

But fewer people develop plans for achieving long-term goals. Longer-term goals are different from surviving the next few days, weeks or months. The goals that this week’s study will focus on are not just about getting through a period of your life. They are about focusing on the future.

Before you start planning the future direction of your learning, you might find it helpful to start a separate section in your learning journal or start a separate ‘action planning journal’, so that you can record the steps that this course will take you through in the development of your plan – and, of course, any thoughts you might have afterwards too.