How many times have you had the best intentions to do something and then failed to follow through? I’ve done it more than I care to admit. I’ve found that pre-staging my equipment the day before eliminates the problem. This military tactic has three benefits that can save you when the mission is at stake. Pre-staging equipment is a military necessity before any movement can take place. It allows leaders to conduct checks and inspections. Leaders ensure all Soldiers and equipment are mission ready and in working condition. One missing or broken piece of equipment can lead to mission failure or in the worst case the death of a Soldier. Beyond inspections, pre-staging has three other distinct benefits.
1) Planning Ahead
Pre-staging forces you to think ahead. You have to define your critical tasks, methods for completing them, and needed equipment. The planning process focuses your energy on the mission’s critical elements. Let’s say I’m planning to go to the gym tomorrow. It is critical to know what type of training I need to do. Is it a strength or cardio day? I need to know the equipment that will be available. I have to plan the clothing and shoes I require for the workout. I have to plan the music to get me pumped up. Planning ahead also helps me see what problems might arise in the morning.
2) Foresee Difficulties
During the planning process leaders plan for contingencies. This can lead to needing additional equipment or leaving non-essential equipment behind. I always begin by checking out my equipment and making sure it is in working order. Looking for both major and minor problems. Sticking with my gym example, I’ll check to make sure I actually downloaded my music instead of simply making the playlist. I hate working out without my music! I can look ahead and know that it will be difficult to wake up in the morning when my alarm goes off. This is a contingency I can plan for in advance. If I followed my previous advice, my muscle memory will kick in! By planning for difficulties, I can pre-stage my gym clothes and avoid failure in the morning. I can look for ways to overcome the difficulties that derail my mission.
3) No Excuses
More than anything, pre-staging equipment gets rid of all excuses. Everything needed for the mission is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Back to the gym! Every night before bed, I lay out my gym clothes. I plan ahead and get rid of my excuses. I’ll have no excuse to stay in bed when my alarm screams at me to wake up. My gym clothes are already waiting for me, taunting me, guilt-tripping me if I sleep-in and have to do the walk-of-shame past them later.
Bonus) Stress Eliminated
This week I took my youngest son skiing. He had been looking forward to this trip since Christmas. He pre-staged all of his equipment before I got off work. He hounded me to get ready the night before. In his mind, nothing would get in the way of his skiing adventure. I can say that I had a proud dad moment when we got up the next morning. There was absolutely no stress. If you have kids, you understand how important this is. We were ready and to the mountain in no time. Pre-staging led to a great ski-day. Mission accomplished.