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The Calculated Calendar

"Between calculated risk and reckless decision-making lies the dividing line between profit and loss."
― Charles Duhigg

The calculated calendar is all about remaining intentional in an ever-changing environment. We plan with the end in view, understanding the risks involved, we prepare to deal with the uncertainties with a high probability of success.

According to the Oxford Languages dictionary, calculated speaks "of an action done with full awareness of the likely consequences." Merriam-Webster entry b says, "engaged in, undertaken, or displayed after reckoning or estimating the statistical probability of success or failure, a calculated risk."

Being intentional does not make us infallible; in over forty years of intentionally scheduling my daily, weekly, monthly, yearly calendars, I have yet to plan and execute every entry exactly as planned perfectly.

When it comes to being intentional, managing the changes life throws at us, shifting gears as we go, accommodating others to get us all on the same page carries some degree of risk management when we plan our projects and schedules.

Addressing and managing risks, Adrienne Watt remarks, "Even the most carefully planned project can run into trouble. No matter how well you plan, your project can always encounter unexpected problems. Team members get sick or quit, resources that you were depending on turn out to be unavailable, even the weather can throw you for a loop (e.g., a snowstorm).

So, does that mean that you're helpless against unknown problems? No! You can use risk planning to identify potential problems that could cause trouble for your project, analyze how likely they are to occur, take action to prevent the risks you can avoid, and minimize the ones that you can't." (1)

Expect changes, obstacles, and setbacks, whether you're planning your month, year, or career. Anticipate them and prepare for them, be intentional, make informed, calculated decisions, and don't let them derail you. Retired actress model and singer Eva Mendes, remarks about the intentionality behind her calculated career path, saying, "I might act like it's an accident, but the opposite is true. I'm incredibly calculated when it comes to my career."

Thinking Through the Year Ahead

How calculated are you when it comes to scheduling your plans, projects, and meetings? John C. Maxwell's points on why planning is indispensable prove helpful as we begin thinking through next year's calendar:

1) Planning Prepares You Mentally and Emotionally

When planning, you walk down the avenue of possibilities in your mind. This exercise mentally familiarizes you with the pros and cons that may be associated with the decisions you make. Also, projecting yourself into the future acquaints you with some of the sacrifices that will be necessary to see a plan through to completion. Oftentimes, being aware of these costs in advance helps a leader to prepare emotionally to make tough choices.

2) Planning Helps You to Prioritize Your Resources

Opportunities abound, but you can't do everything. Planning helps you to separate what you must do from what you could do. By prioritizing, you more effectively allocate precious resources of time and capital.

3) Planning Causes You to Identify Assumptions

As any mapmaker knows, a good roadmap must be drawn to scale and must have a legend explaining its symbols. Without these two essential features, the map is confusing and unreliable to the reader.

Assumptions serve as our legend and scale when we map out a path for those we lead. We really can't make a sensible plan for the future until we've defined our assumptions. Planning exposes assumptions to the light of inquiry. When considering a future plan, we have to test whether or not our present assumptions remain valid. This process helps us refine our fundamental beliefs about the mission, values, and goals of our organization. (2)

"We must have the courage to bet on our ideas, to take the calculated risk, and to act. Everyday living requires courage if life is to be effective and bring happiness."
― Maxwell Maltz

End Notes

(1) Risk Management Planning by Adrienne Watt

(2) When Plans Don't Go According to Script, Keep Planning

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