Tim Shorts wrote a great post about planning:
Developing A Plan on the Go
It's a great piece of player advice.
Often you get really caught up in the minutia of tactical choices, decisions about small things, and thinking extremely long term and often somewhat meta.
You can easily end reacting to situations without a clear idea of what you want.
Having a goal makes a lot of that go away. Using some recent examples from our games:
Need to recharge your warbot? You make a lot of decisions about "who is most likely to help us do that?" and "who would benefit from not letting us do that?" and joining the first and fighting the second.
Need to impress the locals? Then you stop worrying so much about how much tax they change when you come to town and start thinking, geez, let's bring a crazy about of taxable goods into town and wow them.
Want to make contact with some people and you aren't worried who knows? Just go ask.
Knowing your goal - impress the locals, make contact with the bigwigs, get some battery juice - helps immensely. It sped along our Gamma Terra group. Whenever a fork in the road came up, the decision was pretty clear - which of these options gets us closer to our goal? We could toss a number of options out the window, too, because they led away from our goals.
Good, thoughtful stuff by He Who Rolls Ones.
(Yeah, I'll get to my Gamma Terra summary tomorrow. Busy, busy day, and I don't want to start the summary writing at 10 pm so . . . tomorrow.)