Planning is important.
Without a solid plan, you can miss important steps in a project, which could leave your finished product weaker than what you are capable of producing. Without planning, you could also find yourself needing more time than you realized or missing important milestones along the way.
At the beginning of each project, I try to spend an hour or so planning out what steps to take and giving myself a rough estimate of how much time I’ll spend on each.
I also plan my days. The evening before, I look at everything I’d like to accomplish and then start adding items to my to-do list in order of priority. I give each item a time estimate and when I hit a certain point — usually six hours’ worth — I stop adding things to the list.
Planning can help you stay organized and it’s essential to success.
But it’s possible to overdo it.
For example, planning is something I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed. If I feel like I need to get more done than there’s really time in the day to do, I find myself planning and re-planning the day… rather than actually working on things.
It’s like some part of my brain thinks there’s a magic formula that will make it so I can get everything done in a specific time frame even if that time frame is completely unreasonable. If I just come up with the right order to do things in, it will all fit… somehow.
In those situations, planning will feed your sense of being overwhelmed by eating up time you could be using to make a dent in your list.
If planning is your go-to defense against feeling overwhelmed, like it is mine, you can take some steps to overcome that.
First, recognize good planning (preparing for projects, making a reasonable to-do list) versus procrastination planning (turning to planning when you feel overwhelmed or just can’t decide what you should work on first).
Second, make time each day or week for good planning. Maybe your first hour on Monday and your last half hour of each day is dedicated to planning. Outside of that, planning is off the table. If you feel you must procrastinate, you’ll have to find some other approach!
Finally, during the time you blocked for work, spend that time, you know… working. Don’t think about what else you “should” be doing. Don’t think about how you might approach your day differently. Just keep at the work and slowly but surely you’ll get in front of your to-do list. This takes practice, so keep at it.
So, happy planning! But don’t overdo it.
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November 16th: As the end of the year draws near, if you’re like most people, you have a million things on your plate and are being pulled in every direction imaginable. But you still need to get your work done, and you need to do it well. In this live event, I’ll share seven of my favorite tricks to clear the way for higher and better productivity. I hope you’ll join me!
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That’s all for now. Make it a great week!