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7 WARNING Signs You May Be Over-Planning

7 WARNING Signs You May Be Over-Planning

Is your planning productive or it is merely procrastination in disguise? Find out with the following 7 WARNING signs you may be over-planning.

1. You plan a lot (and have little to show for it).

The most elaborate plan in the history of time can’t save you if you never actually act on it. Without a plan, you won’t know where you’re going. But without action, you’ll never leave the starting line. No plan will ever be perfect, so it is in your best interest to move forward as soon as you can. If you don’t, you could discover that your “planning” was really procrastination in disguise (sneaky devil!).

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2. You freak out over the slightest curve-ball.

How would you rate your ability to adjust to unexpected situations? No plan is bullet-proof from life’s curve-balls, which come without mercy or warning. Jennifer Aniston wisely said, “…don’t make plans, make options.” Work on your ability to improvise, because the best plan ever cannot save you from the fact that the script of life changes every single day.

3. You are scared of change.

How well do you think businesses would do if they were so scared of change that they didn’t prepare for it? Hint: They would have all failed by now without an openness to change. The competitive landscape changes faster than ever in the information age. Do you think your parents or grandparents could have imagined living in a world where computers are used for every thing? But like it or not, a lack of computer skills is a major liability if you’re looking for work in this day and age. Get over your fear of change, because it is happening whether you like it or not (and no, you cannot always plan for it: improvise!).

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4. You obsess with minor details.

Remember how procrastination has a way of disguising itself in the costume of “planning?” An obsession with minor details is another common guise of the villain procrastination. Let’s say you’re making a newsletter. Does it really matter if you go with the dark red or the very dark red or the very, very dark red for the title color’s font? Or let’s say you’re writing an article. Is it worth agonizing for hours-on-end over every single word choice? While any project does have key details that require your attention, obsessing over things that really don’t matter is a waste of time and effort. Remember the saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees?” Getting caught up in the little stuff could make you miss the entire point, so tread carefully.

5. You abandon projects.

It didn’t go according to plan. It doesn’t meet your criteria. It’s not “good enough.”

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Change the plan. Make it fit your criteria. And there is no “good enough,” so knock it off.

6. You live in the future.

I hate to break it to you, but you cannot be prepared for everything that comes your way. You can ask as many variations of the question, “What if…?” as your heart desires, but it will do you no good. The “What If?” game is a torturous waste-of-time that will merely stress you out over things that haven’t even happened (and probably won’t). Since you can’t predict the future, you might as well live in the present (because that’s where results happen).

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7. Your computer files are a mess.

Okay, I have to confess something here: I used to be a serial planner. Several weeks ago, I took a few minutes to clean up my computer files and was horrified to discover a massive amount of budgets, schedules, spreadsheets, notes, To-Do Lists, and more organizational tools I had forgotten about. I know all of that sounds super productive, but given the fact that I made those things and never actually used them, it was the opposite of productive. Your planning is useless if you’re not using it to act: end of story. Take an honest look at your hard drive and get rid of anything you’re not going to use (and RESIST the urge to take part in any further faux-planning!).

Are you guilty of over-planning? Tell me all about it in the comments.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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