Has it ever occurred to you that we spend so much time planning our next tasks – that we actually end up with less time to take action? Don’t get me wrong, I love planning! I could be planning the whole day. And if I don’t accomplish something, never mind!! I’ll push today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s. What’s the problem? Isn’t it great? You start the list from scratch, and it’s as though you never have a non-accomplished task… Well, I hate to say that, but aren’t we lying to ourselves?
We have planning apps on our smartphones, scheduling tools on our PCs, online calendars which we synchronize on every gadget we own, beautiful planners we decorate with colors and stickers and what not! So this planning love is a fact. That we have understood. Planning is gooood. So let’s plan!!
But what about the goal of our planning?? What happened to our taking action? It seems to me that we have two ways of procrastination:
- We have those people who don’t even get to sit down and plan what they want to achieve. They go through life waiting for the big opportunity to come their way. They’re not going to seek it actively. Or do anything remotely productive – in the best case, they just seize the opportunity. They let time go by. And if nothing ever happens, they just had “no luck.”
- But we also have those who plan, schedule, and plan it all again. They even go further and join courses, free webinars, paid online summits, masterminds… Whichever stuff that sounds useful to keep on planning and scheduling… and – actually – procrastinating. Yep. At the end of the day, we feel like we’ve been working HARD, we are even VERY proud of ourselves. But what have we achieved? You got it. If we don’t put those plan items into action, we got N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
You may have guessed that I count myself to the second group. While I was actually typing it, I realized how often I’ve planned and written down to-do lists. How often I felt productive and proud of myself… just for the mere “task” of planning!! Learning new things, meeting new people, talking about new projects… So awesome when you get to talk about what you have in mind, right??
Although I LOVE planning, it can get tricky. As a seemingly means of productivity, we tend to procrastinate by spending way too much time planning and analyzing our idea before it becomes a reality. And sometimes, it never does. Or we miss the train, and that original idea we once had is not original anymore. And that easy and quick access we have nowadays to tools and knowledge isn’t helping either!! We have so much info available that it can easily get overwhelming.
We do it a bit better than those who don’t even plan. But are we smarter? Just because we’ve planned for the sake of planning? I guess not. So, what can we do to improve this – wonderful – habit of ours? How do we put those plans into actions and make something out of them?
Let’s plan how to stop planning
- Think about your goal. What do you want to accomplish in 3 months from now?
- Take a piece of paper and write from scratch everything you need to do.
- Now, I want you to choose only 3 items from that list. The 3 items you REALLY need to get done in order to accomplish your goal.
- After you’ve chosen those 3 items, you’re going to write them on another piece of paper. And that’s the only list you’re gonna look at for 3 months. Don’t panic!! You can plan sub-tasks out of them 😉
And now, let’s plan how to take action – and turn plans into action
- Re-order those 3 tasks you chose from more to less relevant, and from faster to slower to accomplish
- Assign each one of those 3 tasks to each month for the next 3 months.
- At the beginning of each month, break your monthly task into 4 different sub-tasks – one for each week.
- Complete each and all tasks. Accomplish your goal. Enjoy your success. AND plan the next 3 months in the very same way.
I’ve found that sometimes it’s not procrastination what stops us from taking plans into actions. It’s just we didn’t plan realistically. Maybe we were just being too ambitious with our time. So try to remember this: Sometimes, planning less for the day is going to bring us more results.
I hope I could be of some help, as I’ve struggled myself as well with overplanning. Now I’m most than happy when I try to stick to this very focused new plan of mine. Because the question is not to plan or not to plan, but what to plan 🙂
Are you born to freelance?
PS. If you haven’t yet, give “The 12 Week Year” by Brian P. Moran a try. It may actually change your life!!