When it comes to remedies to cure procrastination, many experts say that planning is the answer and whilst I would agree that in some instances it can be. It can also be an obstacle. It’s okay to spend time planning but, if you have trouble moving beyond the planning stage and getting bogged down in paralysis by analysis. You may be over planning.
There are many telltale signs that you may be over planning your life. Maybe you read the latest bestselling diet books, but put off cutting calories and going to the gym. You want to start a business, but you do so much research that conditions change before you’re ready to launch. Learn how to turn your dreams into reality. Use these tips to help you move from thinking to doing.
How to Stop Over Planning
Tackle the Underlying Causes of Over Planning:
- Accept uncertainty. It’s impossible to predict the future. Embracing change is more effective than resisting it. Being adaptable creates more security than trying to rely on a false sense of control.
- Make an effort. Talking about something usually requires less energy than actually doing it. On the other hand, you’re going to have to put down the how-to books and pick up a hammer if you want to renovate your kitchen.
- Learn from experience. There’s no reason to fear mistakes when you turn them into lessons on what to do next time. You’re making progress regardless of the immediate outcomes.
- Look at the big picture. Planning goes awry if you start obsessing about small details. Take a step back and focus on your major goals.
- Live in the present. While it’s helpful to imagine how your actions will affect your future self, you can miss out on life if you ignore the here and now. Live mindfully and celebrate where you are today.
- Build up your confidence. Doubting your abilities can cause procrastination. Use your self-talk to motivate yourself. Remind yourself of your past accomplishments and choose activities that leverage your personal strengths.
Practical Strategies to Fight Over Planning:
- Set a time limit. Decide in advance how long you’ll spend on planning. Take 10 or 15 minutes to map out your day instead of letting it consume much of your morning.
- Proceed in reverse. When you arrange a wedding or a dinner party, you probably work backwards from the final date. Apply the same strategy to other projects to keep yourself on track.
- Break things down. Studying Russian or preparing your taxes is less daunting when you identify the individual tasks involved. Cut monster projects down to size.
- Take a first step. Pick out at least one thing you can do today. Look for something that’s feasible in terms of your current resources. Ensure you can live with the level of risk involved.
- Enlist support. You can accomplish more when you team up with others. Surround yourself with colleagues and loved ones who encourage you and give you valuable feedback. Seek out a partner who complements your workstyle.
- Review your progress. Midcourse adjustments increase your chances of ultimate success. Develop milestones and target dates when you’ll evaluate your performance and refine your plans.
- Be flexible. True fulfillment has more to do with spending your time engaged in meaningful activities rather than sticking to any rigid plan. Keep your purpose and core values in sight.
Make an effort to put the above tips into practice and stop over planning. You can make planning work to your advantage. While there are many good reasons to think before taking action, you need to do something if you’re going to reach your goals. Let your plans give you a sense of direction instead of holding you back.
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Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor