Planning should help you map your goals so they include not only what you are trying to accomplish, but also the bad things you want to prevent from happening, as well as the existing good things that you want to keep from disappearing. To do this, you must consider the bigger picture. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan provides an example. The colors red and yellow both stand out in daylight, but yellow is more visible than red in dim light, such as at dusk and dawn. To make sure Afghani civilians didn’t accidentally step on unexploded cluster bombs, the military wrapped them in yellow plastic. Unfortunately, following this same logic, in an effort to make air-dropped food packages easier to find, these were also wrapped in yellow plastic. Only after scores of people, many of them children, died did the U.S. military realize that it should package the bombs and food in different colors. Bigger-picture planning would have prevented this tragedy.
Birds offer another example. Most birds time the hatching of their eggs for when food is most abundant. Since most birds follow this strategy, competition for food is also most fierce at that time. A few bird species hatch early, when there is less food but also much less competition for the available food. By factoring in more than one variable, these birds end up with more food for their young.

[Excerpted from Lasting Contribution: How to Think, Plan and Act to Accomplish Meaningful Work]

Author's Bio: 

Tad Waddington says he achieved literacy while getting his MA from the University of Chicago’s Divinity School where he focused on the history of Chinese religions. He achieved numeracy while getting his PhD from the University of Chicago in measurement, evaluation and statistical analysis. He achieved efficacy as Director of Performance Measurement for Accenture. He is currently seeking to achieve a legacy with such books as Return on Learning and Lasting Contribution.