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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

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 31, 2020

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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3. Still No Action

More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

4. Flicker of Hope Left

You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

5. Fading Quickly

Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

6. Vow to Yourself

Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

1. Feeling Eager and Energized

This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

2. Plan

Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

3. Resistance

Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

4. Confront Those Feelings

Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

5. Put Results Before Comfort

You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

6. Repeat

Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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Final Thoughts

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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