Are you a planner? I sure as hell am…I’m like the Simon and Garfunkel song of this post title – I’m always ready to make a new plan, Stan. Or, more accurately, I need to quit making all my damn plans…I need to just let myself – and everyone around me – be. I saw this on Instagram today:
Kinda life changing, I have to say. I am that person, the compulsive planner, who wants to come up with a million and one ideas when I’m preparing to go somewhere; I’m the girl that has every second of the weekends full of things that need doing (part of that is because of my work obligations, so it’s mostly necessary, but still…); the person that makes plans weeks in advance because I have an almost obsessive respect for people and their schedules…I’m a planner. I want to be a spontaneous, wild and crazy kind of fun girl – and I can roll with the punches like nobody’s business, but I am always inclined to make a plan. Case in point: this evening we had a work function, which went until after 8:00pm – instead of high-tailing it out of there like my arse was on fire and running to the car, I sat in the office with my boss forcing the poor, undoubtedly exhausted woman to talk with me about our agenda for tomorrow morning. Because my middle name is Batshit, apparently. It’s ridiculous. This is the kind of stuff that I do that probably makes me a really bloody frustrating person to be around. 😦
On the other hand, I get more stuff done in a day than most folks accomplish in a week – partly because I’m super-efficient, but mostly because I schedule my time really, really well. I make the most of my time at work and rarely bring work home – once I leave the office, I’m done. I manage to do a ton of things with the Wee One that are super-fun – like the Fancy Girls Trip to Paris! 🙂 While we were there, we did SO many amazing things – that we wouldn’t have done if I sat around on my arse playing it loosey-goosey. Each time I’ve been to New York, I’ve seen and done so many things that I’m nearly ready to take a summer job as a city tour guide on a double-decker bus. I have covered so much ground in that city and made the most of my time…because I never know for sure if I’ll be back. At a staff meeting recently, someone praised me because I’m a person who deals with things head on – I “get shit done”. Thank God they feel that way, because I try really hard to be someone who does get shit done. Those are my kind of people, the shit-getter-doners of the world! 😉
I read a great article online about planning – and trying not to overplan:
Planning and productivity don’t always go hand in hand.
Just because you’re great at planning, doesn’t mean you’re actually getting anything done. The most successful people —entrepreneurs, business owners, and even everyday professionals — are those who actually make things happen. In fact, if you’re spending the majority of your day planning, you may be sabotaging not only your productivity, but also your career.
It’s not that planning is a bad thing. But too much of it will take up an unnecessary amount of time. It may also lead you to believe that the more time you spend in the planning phase, the better the outcome of what you’re planning will be. When in all reality, it’s better to dive in and tackle potential problems as they arise.
It’s time to put the brakes on your excessive planning, and actually accomplish something. Here are six tips to help you stop planning and start doing more on a daily and long-term basis:
1. Limit your planning. Cap off your planning by putting an actual time limit on how much you spend per day, week, or month. This will keep your planning efforts focused and decisive. For example, 60 minutes a week of planning should do the trick. Place your focus on getting ideas off the ground, rather than agonizing over the details.
2. Get moving and maintain momentum. An idea is just that until you actually put it into motion. Unfortunately, finding and maintaining momentum to get an idea or task off the ground can be a struggle.
So you have a bunch of ideas or projects you’ve been planning out both mentally and physically, drop your fear of failure and nail down a start date. It could be tomorrow or next week, but write it on your calendar as the day you put your plan into motion. With the right amount of passion and dedication, any road bumps you experience will be translated into a learning opportunity or a chance to pivot.
3. Visualize your goal and act accordingly.Take a look at the big picture of what you’re hoping to accomplish. Take the approach many successful business CEOs have used and look at creating the minimum viable product (MVP). This means developing something that meets the bare minimum requirements and improving it based on necessity.
For instance, the project you keep moving to the end of your to-do list. Visualize what the MVP would be. Once you’ve completed that, you can run some tests and gain more insight from your team and/or client to help it grow from there.
4. Use a method of trial and error. You don’t always have to plan for things to go as planned. This sounds confusing, but it’s best to approach your actions as a basis for trial and error and not failure. For instance, say you’ve finally kicked your idea of starting a side business, an Ecommerce website, into motion.
Develop a method of trial and error to see what is and isn’t working as you build your company. So you’re not drawing in as many visitors as you would have originally hoped, test out some new methods of marketing and see what does and doesn’t work for your company.
5. Live by the 80/20 rule. Sometimes getting things accomplished means finding out what main factors will produce the most results. The 80/20 rule is broken down like this: Twenty percent of what you do in regard to something will produce 80 percent of your results.
So when it comes to that project you’re currently stalled on, look at the big picture and systematically remove steps until you end up with just the basic 20 percent that gives you 80 percent of what you need. By accomplishing these you will be fighting the need to create a completely perfect end product and also boosting your efficiency.
6. Trust your gut. The most important part of actually getting things done is trusting your own abilities. Once you let go of your fears, you’re actually going to be able to accomplish the big things on your to-do list.
Planning to perfection isn’t realistic. You’re never going to get it perfect anyway, so you might as well just get it done and accept that you will always have to tackle problems in the future.
Sensible, right? Planning is great…with limits. Here’s the thing: at the end of the day, I do know that I can be rather annoying…and that my planning can be really obnoxious and overbearing to most people. However, I also know that those very same people rely on the ones like me to move the world forward…while I count on them for spontaneous fun from time to time.
When it fits in my schedule. 😉