What ‘Preparation’ Really Is

In loads of posts for this blog, I say that you should prepare for stuff. Prepare for the year, prepare for lectures, prepare for seminars, prepare for essays, prepare for exams. Prepare, prepare, PREPARE!

You might think that preparation is pointless. After all, you don’t get formal recognition for it.

Well, that’s not quite true.

Preparation isn’t a dress rehearsal before the real thing. Think of it more as a scaffold toward better formal recognition. To prepare is to start. And it’s not just any old start; it’s starting big.

Shape ideas in your mind as early as you can, have the end in mind, ask yourself what you want to get out of the project, get an overview of the subject, develop an awareness of what’s going on…

When you put the time in from the outset, you’re in a better position to finish. And, as Scott Young says, starting isn’t useful without finishing.

We’re very good at filling time. There’s always something to do. That’s why it’s so easy to get into the mindset that you’ll start — or finish — tomorrow. Always tomorrow. When it’s too late, there is no time to prepare.

photo by D Sharon Pruitt

photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Preparation has no fixed strategy. Make it useful to you. You could:

  • Outline an idea with estimated timescales and outcomes;
  • Build up a skeleton understanding or scaffold framework of a concept/subject;
  • View what you need to get from A to B (that is, from start to finish);
  • Get the right tools in place to allow an effective and efficient transition.

These are just a few of the possibilities. No matter what your take is, your starting moves should represent the beginning of a journey as you consider why you’re undertaking it.

“‘Everything will be alright” is not the same as ‘everything will stay the same’.” – Seth Godin