If you can resist the temptation to jump into your next project, you’ll reap major benefits if you take even just a few minutes to develop a plan. Here’s why.

A Plan Gives You Clarity
– Knowing and articulating what needs to be done helps you prepare for future steps, and you’ll ensure that deliverables are clear and accounted for.

A Plan Supports Realistic Expectations
– When you fully understand how and when things will be done, you shine the light of reality on any work. You’ll be able to identify conflicts and engage with partners to adjust expectations or allocate additional resources.

A Plan Provides Parameters – While a plan doesn’t provide paint-by-numbers instructions, it does give you a goal and a frame of reference for your work. By continually checking in with your plan, you’ll be able to catch problems early.

A Plan Pays You Back – The ROI of planning is inestimable. Thirty to 60 minutes of planning can help you have a successful week, while as few as 10 minutes can ensure that your next day’s top priorities are addressed. Thoughtful planning transforms dozens—or hundreds—of hours of scattered effort into focused work.