Woe be unto those who don't plan ahead

Zhang Ciyun
Morning and springtime are deemed best for mapping out courses of action.
Zhang Ciyun

In English, people sometimes say an hour in the morning is worth two in the evening, believing that they are generally more productive in the morning after a night’s sleep.

Chinese people think morning is the right time for making plans. So, they have coined a saying — yirizhiji zaiyu chen, yinianzhiji zaiyu chun, which means “a whole day’s work depends on good planning in the morning, a whole year’s achievement depends on good planning in spring.” It’s based on the belief that morning and spring are the ideal times to formulate plans.


yī rì zhī jì zài yú chén


yī nián zhī jì zài yú chūn

The famed Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC) once said renwu yuanlu biyou jinyou, or “a man who does not plan well in advance will find trouble at his door.”

There’s also a similar quote in “Zhongyong,” or “Doctrine of the Mean,” one of the Four Books of Confucianism, which says that preparedness ensures success and unpreparedness spells failure.

Both emphasize the importance of planning.


rén wú yuǎn lǜ bì yǒu jìn yōu

Several quotations of the same vein can be found in English. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the United States, once said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And former American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt observed: “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

It seems that all the Chinese and English sayings here point to the same truth: Plan and you will benefit.

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