How to Stop Over Planning and Cure Your Procrastination

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3.  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.
  4.  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.
  5.  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.
  6.  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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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12 thoughts on “How to Stop Over Planning and Cure Your Procrastination

  1. We sometimes convince ourselves that a job which must be done, must be done quickly and earnestly, and we create a sense of nervous urgency that only makes our procrastination feel even worse. So instead, why not relax and have a little fun? That is, treat your task like a game and try to complete it slowly as though it were taking place on the moon. Admittedly, this might prove difficult at first — and impractical too maybe, but stay with it. Just smile and continue to play. Your aim is simply to alleviate any tension and to get the ball rolling.

    Cheers then.
    Margaret Clover recently posted…Health and beauty benefits of potatoesMy Profile

  2. Excellent article Mike. So many people know what they need to do but they fall into the trap of perfectionism. They will not take action until success is guaranteed; in other words never! I was fortunate to work in a job where I realised that risking a mistake, in most cases, was better than taking no action at all.

  3. This is a refreshing read. It feels like everyone has gone planning crazy over the last few months, but too much planning can be as bad as too little!

  4. Ooo live in the present! Such a great tip. So much of life is missed when you live in the future. Sometimes I feel that I’m permanently in the future.

    • Unfortunately Sarah, many people spend their time living in the past, at least if you spend time living in the future you can make it how you want, you can’t change the past no matter how long you stay there.