The Power of a Plan
Nurses plan. Doctors plan. Plumbers plan. The point is, in order to complete goals, we all plan. Outcomes based on a good plan yield better results and more efficient work, usually with fewer mistakes, adjustments and backtracking.
Planning allows us to free up mental, emotional and conscious space, by providing a roadmap to our desired destination or outcome. Committing to a goal also helps to facilitate attainment by creating a perceived future in the content of the mind. The concepts of creative visualization, neuroplasticity and Quantam physics demonstrate the truth of our ability to create the future by creating it.
The Nursing Careplan, the driving practical force of nursing practice, helps us organize multiple operational tasks within a hierarchy of needs dependent upon the safety and security of the patient, family or Community. For example, breathing, bleeding and safety are critical to the wellbeing of any life system, therefore these functions are at the top of the hierarchy. The basic tenants of the hierarchy are as follows:
- Brain cells deprived of oxygen for as little as four minutes will die, so breathing and maintaining an open airway, is crucial to an organisms survival.
- Circulation of blood is the mechanism by which oxygen is delivered to the brain, therefore maintaining a closed system is vital to the health of organ tissue. “All bleeding eventually stops” is a truism in my world of nursing trauma patients in the operating room. Although the limiting factor here is death, as prolonged bleeding will cause loss of tissue profusion, controlling bleeding therefore becomes the next crucial step in the hierarchy.
- Safety and the protection of an organism from harm is a controlling force, as anything threatening the safety of an organism could precipitate lack of oxygen, bleeding or make it impossible to control either of these factors. Thats why safety belts are important, they prevent harm.
The amazing thing is the human mind is remarkably persistent in the pursuit of a goal, therefore intrusive thoughts remind us of unfulfilled goals often to the point of interfering with other tasks! Therefore by goal planning, we can better manage multiple pursuits and increase success by making goal pursuit more automatic.
Think about it: when you plan to walk to the car, into the next room to get something do you actually think about all the steps it takes to get you there? No! Because much of the effort in between is automatic. Once a detailed plan is made, one no longer has to think about the goal to execute it (Brandsta ̈tter et al., 2001). Apparently, a plan reduces the amount of thoughts and attention that are typically recruited in service of an unfulfilled goal. Thoughts of an incomplete goal will not interfere with current concerns so long as a plan has been made to see the goal through later on.
The ability to plan ahead for each goal may be critical for pursuing so many goals at once. If the mind had to focus on each goal through attainment, the pursuit of any one goal would need to compete with all the other goals for limited cognitive resources. The formation of a plan may help to avoid this problem. A plan increases one’s odds of attaining a goal and simultaneously reduces the cognitive ac- tivities that promote the goal. By suspending cognitive activity, one can minimize competition and reduce the potential for distrac- tion and interference. Thus, the ability to plan ahead may be crucial for enabling the wide variety of pursuits that define human life.