In a class that I took about a decade ago, I heard our teacher say that “you have to plan the work, and then you have to work the plan”. So, first plan the work.
As a child, some of the best learning experiences I had happened because I was involved in sports. I also had a few ‘not-so-favorable’ experiences in sports as well. As long as we do not forget those ‘not-so-favorable’ experiences, they can still be learning experiences.
Back then, baseball was my favorite sport. During that time, I tried out for Little League Baseball, and was good enough to be put on one of our local teams.
One important thing that the manager of our Little League team told us was that we have to know ahead of time what we are going to do with the ball when it is hit to us while we are out in the playing field. In the lingo of those of us who are looking for a job today, it means we have to ‘plan ahead’.
As was the case for any child in the 9 to 12 age group, I probably was not the greatest at planning ahead. One occasion (a ‘not-so-favorable’ experience) comes to my mind often, and it occurred when I was in my last year on the Little League team. I played first base then, and a ground ball was hit to a point somewhere between the first base foul line and the pitcher’s mound. Because of the way the ball was hit (it was a slow ground ball), I had to run toward the ball to field it, which I did. However, because I did not plan what I would do with the ball (either take 2 steps and tag the batter out, or turn and throw the ball to our second baseman, who was covering first base), I hesitated. It was only for a short time, one or two seconds, but it was too late and the batter was safe. I can still remember seeing the batter as he ran by me toward first base.
Because of that experience, I would like to think that I have done a better job in planning my work activities since then.
There are really 2 lessons here. First, as I said earlier, you have to plan. And the second one is this — when you see an opportunity, go for it quickly, like the other baseball player did.
Dave Vandermey is a web developer.