Planning in advance is one of the more important life skills that young professionals can pick up at the early stages of their career. The ability to plan means even complex tasks can be broken down into a schedule and completed in increments, so that they don’t feel overwhelming, and that the best possible use of the available time can be made.
This applies to projects we might get from work, but it also applies to life more generally. A question often asked by job interviewers is “where do you see yourself in five years’ time?”. But this isn’t just something thrown in there to trip you up – the ability to plan is a quality that usually indicates a person who is going to be capable and effective.
Planning is especially important when it comes to your career and your finances. You might consider where you’d ideally like to live, and how. Having done that, you can work out the steps necessary to get there, and chart the major spending you’ll need to make along the way. Knowing how much you need to save each month, and how much you can therefore afford to spend, can be extremely liberating.
For major purchases, you might look into financing, and thereby do your saving after you’ve done the spending. If you need a car to get a new, more lucrative job, then it makes sense to get the car first. This might be a small, practical car like the Peugeot 208, or it might be something larger and more impressive for executives.
Having come up with a long-term plan, you might then get into the habit of making short-term ones. This might come in the form of a to-do list and schedule which remains more or less consistent from one day to another.
Making good financial decisions usually means making them slowly and carefully, weighing up the alternatives, and making every step part of a considered, adaptable plan. A plan that isn’t adaptable is likely to run into trouble fairly quickly. 2020 should have demonstrated to most of us that life has a habit of throwing up unexpected challenges. Sometimes, it might be necessary to dispense with your plan altogether and start from scratch. This might happen because of a bereavement, an economic slowdown, or even a personal epiphany.
Is this what I really want?
Planning for the future not only helps you to more effectively meet your goals, but to assess whether they’re fit for purpose. You might have always taken for granted that you want to live in a big house with a swimming pool, without really accounting for the volume of hours and commitment you’ll need to get there. Of course, ‘what do I want’ can be one of the most revealing questions you can ask of yourself – and the answer may surprise you!
Image Credits: Eliza Diamond