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!).
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!).
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.”
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).
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!).