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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 November 12, 2020

Learn How to Be Productive and Happy With These 11 Tips

Learn How to Be Productive and Happy With These 11 Tips

A lack of productivity leads to a lack of happiness. When you can’t see yourself making progress or getting things done, you get anxious and become stressful. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to be productive.

There are also many things that contribute to unhappiness here: Facebook notifications, emails, texts, and chatty co-workers are just a small fraction of the disruptions we’re bombarded with. These “little things” can stack up fast and lead to hampering your happiness and productivity levels.

Learn how to be productive with the 11 tips below and reclaim your everyday productivity and your happiness, once and for all.

1. Be Happy Now

Life is too short. No matter what you’re doing or where you are, be happy now. Start by finding something to be grateful for; everyone has at least one good thing in their life, and most have many more.

Most of the world still has trouble getting access to clean drinking water…that means you can even be grateful for that bottle of Aquafina you’ve got on your desk right now.

2. Finish Your Day Before It Starts

Proper planning is the secret to peak productivity, and it’s also a good idea to set important goals daily. Get yourself a planning tool and prioritize your daily tasks with it in order to spend your time on important tasks.

If you know exactly what you have to do and the timeframe you want to complete it in, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to be productive.

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Here’s a smart technique on planning and prioritization: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

3. Celebrate the Small Wins

Every time you check off a task from your to-do list, you release a “happy chemical” in your brain called dopamine. This gives you the motivation to move forward and do even more.

For example, after I finish writing this article, and I’ve crossed it off my list of things to do today, I’ll get a nice burst of “happy chemicals” releasing in my brain. The best part? Zero side effects!

4. Leverage Like There’s No Tomorrow

Look for ways to use the 80/20 rule by identifying tasks that you might be able to outsource or leverage out to a virtual assistant.

Stop wasting time doing things that don’t challenge you or ignite your passion. Hire out or automate anything and everything within your means.

Don’t be afraid to trust others with tasks you believe they can do. They’ll likely be happy for the opportunity, and you’ll feel better about lowering the amount of work you have to get done.

5. Recharge Your Batteries

Figure out how many hours of sleep your body needs and make sure you get it. Take time to stretch, walk, or relax in order to recharge throughout the day and after work.

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One study found that the best way to ensure consistent productivity throughout the day is to work for about 50 minutes, followed by a 15-20 minute break[1]. As you’re trying to learn how to be productive, follow this pattern to get started[2].

Take breaks to be more productive

    Here are some simple ways to relax completely and get rid of stress.

    6. Become an Early Riser

    This is one of the most underused productivity “hacks” on the planet. Ever since I decided to start waking up at 5am every day, my productivity levels and happiness have gone up dramatically.

    Most people aren’t up that early, so no one can bother you or disrupt you from what you want to do. A productive person will use this time to exercise, meditate, or get a head start on their day.

    7. Do Work You’re Passionate About

    Make it your goal to blur the line between work and play by doing more things you’re passionate about. This promotes happiness both inside and outside of the workplace.

    Find what you’re passionate about and do it, even if it’s just through a hobby. Make time for the things you love and learn how to be productive more easily.

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    8. Use Time Blocks

    When I wrote this article, I gave myself a one hour time block. This prevents unnecessary dilly-dallying, like updating your social media and checking email. Instead, start developing better work habits and manage your time for a more productive day.

    There are plenty of apps that can help you do this, or you can simply set an alarm on your phone so you know when you can take a break and enjoy some free time. During your set time block[3], do your best to eliminate distractions. Find a quiet space, declutter your desk, and create a short to-do list to keep you on track.

    Time Blocking for Productivity

      9. Avoid Interruptions

      Interruptions are among the biggest barriers to both productivity and happiness. Every time you’re interrupted in the middle of a task, your level of productivity takes a hit.

      We’ve all been there: you’re fully immersed in an important project until all of a sudden the workplace chatterbox appears out of nowhere and starts talking the crazy night they had last weekend. By the time s/he’s gone, you’ve already forgotten where you were, and it takes 30 minutes to get back on track.

      Avoid this by letting people know that you’ve got important work that’s got to be done.

      Learn more about how to stay focus in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

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      10. Shut Down the Digital Disruptions

      iPhones, mailbox notifications, Twitter, Facebook, and everything that pops, slides, or fades in and out of your screen has got to go. Shut them down and focus when you want to learn how to be productive.

      It’s as easy as turning off the notifications or scheduling only a specific time to check all these notifications and texts.

      11. Measure Your Success

      Every now and then, it’s a good idea to measure your results and see how things are coming along.

      How’s your progress? Are you moving in the right direction? It’s always a good idea to track your progress regularly.

      Of course, in order to track you progress, you need to set specific milestones so you know that you’re on your way to achieving any big or small goal.

      The Bottom Line

      With these 11 effective tips, you’ll learn how to be productive and find more time to do the things that make you happy.

      Start small and take up each suggestion one-by-one. That way, you can boost your productivity, and create joy along the way.

      More to Boost Productivity

      Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

      Reference

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