How Studying Architecture Taught Me To Plan And Prepare As Much As Possible

Plan more and spend less time taking action

I know a lot of online writers tell you that planning is procrastinating and you should just start.

But there has to be a certain amount of planning for every successful business, building, and achievement.

Why? Because you can start doing something, but in the end, the result is something completely different, or it just took you a long time starting and figuring out where to start and what to do.

By planning at the beginning, you will research, and you will find the best points to start.

This is what I learned while studying Architecture:

More planning Before = Fewer Problems In The End At The Execution

Buildings can be complicated.

There are a lot of things you have to think about:

  • Steady structure: to prevent the building from collapsing
  • Sound-, heat-, and cold-proof: to keep your rooms comfortable
  • Aesthetics: your building should look pretty (else nobody wants it)
  • Functional: the room sizes, arrangement, and flow should work together
  • Electricity and other technical installations: to have your sockets where you need them and your appliances in your kitchen and bathroom

This list is only the things for a single-family home. Can you imagine how complicated it is to plan a hospital or school?

If you plan as much as possible from the points listed above, you will have fewer errors and fewer instant decision-making at the building site. These can cause more problems because you didn’t think them through.


“Any structure must have a strong foundation. The cornerstones anchor the foundation. For some reason, the cornerstones that I chose to begin with I never changed.”

— John Wooden

Let’s start from the bottom.

Every building needs a strong foundation so that it can withstand wind, earthquakes, and all forces that act on buildings.

Every project needs a foundation too. This is you, who knows what the important things are? Make a list of tasks and make a strategy. Having a plan and a strategy is the foundation. Without it, you don’t know where to start or what to do next.

If a business doesn’t have a strategy or a goal, your employees can be the best in their job, and it wouldn’t matter because they don’t know what to do or how to sell it.


The foundation is set, and you have your strategies, goals, and plans. Now it’s time to build systems that hold the project together.

Step-by-step systems tell you and your colleagues or employees what to do next.

For example, you have to call someone to sell a product:
Let’s prepare first!
Make an outline of what you want to say on the phone based on the goal and strategies from the step before. The goal is to get an email address to send him all the information about the product. Then have the email template already ready to be sent to the potential customer.

Templates and systems make your project faster and will save you a lot of time and money.

Automize and delegate as much as possible!

Aesthetics and Functionality

If you have your foundation and structure ready, you will need to pack it in beautiful and easy-to-rip-off wrapping paper.

It’s your time to create and build. You are ready to go to do the important thing: doing!

First, make sure that you know what the important tasks are that get you the result you want. Figure out the 20% of the 80/20 principle that gets you to 80% of your goal!

Make sure that you are moving in the right direction and that you don’t get distracted. Do you really need this?

A house can be really steady, but if it’s not functional, you cannot use it. The layout needs to work. The aesthetics and the functions need to fit future users. If you plan a house for a young family with one child, then it makes no sense to only have one bedroom, or if are only office-like rooms and a small kitchen. You don’t plan an office building as a family home and vice versa.

Start small and make a draft or list of the requirements and goals that the project has. How many rooms, what kind of rooms, and who are the users?

If it’s a public building, it needs to be accessible to the disabled. There are a lot of rules and standards you need to follow, which you don’t have in your project. But you can make your own set of rules.

Go into more details, maybe even research what your customer needs. What are the crucial points you have to make it 100% user-friendly and convenient?

“To create architecture is to put in order. Put what in order? Function and objects.”

— Le Corbusier

More Well-Thought Decisions

The biggest reason why you should plan ahead is you can make decisions more well-thought in the planning phase.

Think through the worst-case scenarios and write down the steps or important tasks you have to do if that happens.

What kind of facade will the house have? What are the requirements? It has to be suitable for the isolation and material in the wall. It has to fit into the neighborhood (some even have restrictions for facade colors). It has to withstand the weather.

Make a list of what-ifs and write down the steps you will have to take if it happens. It’s not about the negative ifs but also about the good ones.

Suddenly your website gets a lot of traffic, which it cannot handle. The decision you will have to make is to upgrade this website or find a different system where you can put your articles or products.

You make that decision beforehand, and then you are ready if this situation occurs.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

— Benjamin Franklin

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(c) Karina Ahrer

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