A bit of hyperbole, but such practice makes for good blog titles. In any case, I’m loosely quoting Eisenhower here, who said something along the lines of:

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”1

A Today list is about how you plan to manage the day. It may change. A Navigation folder is about how you plan to manage the next several days or months. You can go onward planning years or the rest of your life.

But when the battle begins, it all goes out the window. No one can predict the future. So why plan?

If anything, planning is at least useful for helping to guide the next decision. But that’s hardly enough.

Every step of the way, from that initial moment of planning, we could decide to continue with a pre-planned step, but this can be folly. The world has changed.

We could also decide to do something else. But then what good is our word, and what of all that thought we put in?

In either case, we can consider how reality has changed. Doing so gives a new vantage for the situation. We have the perspectives of both the past and present, a form of binocular vision we would otherwise not have.

If I have planned the day and it goes awry, I have a better sense of how it went awry.

Further, my previous planning means for those aspects that still work, I have fewer decisions to make. And since decision takes time and attention, I can now make grander sweeps of action having already designed many of their component programs.

As an example, let’s say I had planned a picnic, and the day was interrupted by a work event. Once resolved, I could be ready for the picnic in a few minutes rather than a half an hour which can make all the difference of it happening or not. As a musical example, when I have certain phrases and scales memorized, rather than stumble into chaos, I am much more able to follow and flow with the whims of emotion in sound. In fact, I created a video about it:

So, consider planning your day as a daily exercise. Whether done in the evening for the next day or in the morning for the current day, either could work. Grab a calendar, a notepad or an Inbox, close your eyes and imagine the day. Things will likely not go as planned, but you’ll be more equipped to manage.

Check out this nicely written breakdown of plans vs planning.


  1. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/11/18/planning/