The ROI of Thinking Ahead

“I wouldn’t say I was a planner, no.  I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants gal.  Moment to moment, that’s me.”  Vivian, Pretty Woman

I spent ten minutes before bed tonight thinking about tomorrow.

I thought about where my keys, cell phone, shoes and jacket are.  As an INFP, I’m prone to misplacing any and all of these items.

I thought about what I’m going to wear tomorrow, and made sure those items were clean and laid out.

I thought about my daughter, whom I’ll be getting ready and dropping off at the sitter’s, and made sure she had a clean, warm outfit handy.

I thought about coffee, and set the pot to have some brewed when I wake up tomorrow.

I  thought about my car, and how much gas is in the tank, and whether I’d need a fill-up on my way to work.

Ten minutes.  It’s not a big investment of time.  And aside from walking around my house and looking for things, it was mostly just thinking, not really doing anything. Worst case scenario, I’d have had to stay up an extra half hour to run a load of laundry and pop it into the dryer, or run out for 20 minutes to gas up my car.  Technically, I could probably have done both in the same 30 minute wash cycle.

But what if I woke up tomorrow, and realized THEN that I had no clean pants?  Or my daughter didn’t have a warm outfit clean?  Or that I was nearly out of gas?

What if I couldn’t remember where my keys, shoes or cell phone were?

What would the rest of my day be like?

The “return on investment” for thinking ahead is not always what you gain.  Often, it’s the loss you don’t experience.

For some people, this “thinking ahead” comes naturally.  They may read what I just wrote and think “You may as well have said ‘I breathed last night before I went to bed.’  Duh!”

Others may read it and even that short description of a very bare bones “before bed routine” might seem overwhelmingly out of character.  It’s an effort, albeit a small one, and for us “non-planner, moment to moment gals” (or guys) we’re usually already exhausted (mostly because of what happens because we don’t think ahead.)

So we have to sell ourselves on thinking ahead.  Ten minutes of mostly just thinking is a fairly easy sell, and one that pays pretty decent, immediately gratifying dividends.

It’s a starting place; a beginning to build on.

4 Comments

  1. Chris
    ·

    Good advice. I should probably implement that since I lose the battle of the snooze button every morning. Might make those 15 minutes between my feet hitting the floor and walking out the door go a little smoother. (added by Mobile using Mippin)

    Reply

  2. ·

    Interestingly enough, I was planning on doing a follow-up "Ten Minutes" post, about exactly what you're talking about: gradually setting your alarm earlier in 10 minute increments. I think small steps and gradual change work best for most people, don't you?

    Reply

  3. ·

    I didn't always plan ahead. Well, Saturdays and Sundays were my planning days for the week ahead. The week itself was a little chaotic once it came around (something always needed to get done ya know). So I tried something out… I tried waking up just a bit earlier each day (and it *really* didn't work at all at first). But fast forward a few weeks/months in…and I'm getting up earlier and earlier every day. Enough time for coffee, breakfast and planning for the day ahead (if I haven't done that already). Sure I hit the snooze button every now and then, but for the most part, I'm good. 🙂

    Reply

  4. ·

    I didn't always plan ahead. Well, Saturdays and Sundays were my planning days for the week ahead. The week itself was a little chaotic once it came around (something always needed to get done ya know). So I tried something out… I tried waking up just a bit earlier each day (and it *really* didn't work at all at first). But fast forward a few weeks/months in…and I'm getting up earlier and earlier every day. Enough time for coffee, breakfast and planning for the day ahead (if I haven't done that already). Sure I hit the snooze button every now and then, but for the most part, I'm good. 🙂

    Reply

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