Is All Your Planning Coming At The Expense Of Your Productivity?

Did I just write that? Yes, I did. I love planning. My office is literally covered in calendars. I have written all kinds of events, meetings, calls and vacation days on them. They are a constant visual reminder to me of how busy I am, how much free time I have, not to spread myself too thin and when I need to pick up my pace.

Then there is over planning. Those subtle ways we try to trick ourselves to believe we’re being productive with our planning when we’re not. Do you find yourself doing any of the following?

  • Planning to the point of procrastination. In your mind you are aware as long as you keep planning you don’t have to take action. Planning is merely the pathway. Action is what will take you to the desired location. The sooner you start the journey the sooner you’ll arrive at the destination.
  • Planning for perfection. Having a plan B is good. Having a plan C, D, & E is too much. Find this habit hard to break? To be successful in changing this type of behavior think of way to hand over the reigns or at least share them with someone else. Chances are if you’re a perfectionist you are a people pleaser as well. If you have to share responsibilities with someone else and are driving them crazy you’ll be more likely to stop. Another tip is to do something with your creative mind instead of your analytical mind. Art is a great way to find beauty in the imperfections.
  • Planning because you’re afraid. You tell yourself you’re preparing for the future and what you’re really doing is planning for the worst. Not a good use of time. The future is rarely as bad as we make it out to be and some of the things that we call “bad” turn out to be the best blessings.

In April 2015, I was fortunate enough to attend HustleCon. There were many great Founders who spoke about their companies in the early days. They shared about the problems they faced, daily struggles, the financial setbacks, failed attempts and the constant changing of their circumstances.

They also shared about the importance of giving back even when you’re not receiving, trying even though you are “failing”, and adapting to an ever changing situation. Doing things differently, even breaking the rules (read Jack Smith’s story), to get the different result you’re looking for.

The Founder that had the biggest impact on me was Andrew Warner of Mixergy. At the time in his life he was speaking about he had already achieved success and sold a company. Now he was trying something new and was feeling pressure and overwhelmed by how he saw it in the future.

During his travels he had come across a “focus bead” bracelet and began to use this to keep things in perspective. He didn’t need a million followers. At the time Andrew just wanted to get to 200. Whenever he would get sidetracked or overwhelmed he would hold the beads and run his fingers over each one and repeat to himself that he was on his way to 200 and 200 was possible.

If it’s not over planning, what is stopping you from being productive? For many of us the very thing that we’re so good at it is also what stands in our way. If you’re a chef do you keep adding ingredients to the plate? If you’re a painter do you keep painting long after you’re done. If you’re a speaker do you keep talking even though no one is listening? If you’re in sales do you keep trying to sell to someone that isn’t buying when the next customer wants to buy?

Whether you use focus beads, the Serenity Prayer, a quick pep talk to yourself, etc. take a moment to stop when you feel yourself overwhelmed and the pressure rising. Being productive doesn’t mean you hit the goal today. It is taking action to get that much closer to it.

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Because you can’t do it all yourself…….. Melissa Smith, The PVA is the bestselling author of Hire the Right Virtual Assistant. To learn more about working with the right Virtual Assistant contact Melissa here.