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Planning Is Overrated. You Should Do This Instead.

Planning Is Overrated. You Should Do This Instead.

Let’s face it; it has happened to all of us at least once. You want to get something done and you begin by planning ad nauseum. If you are among the greater majority you probably won’t finish. Why is this?

Getting stuck in the quagmire of planning is very common. Planning in the traditional sense can be the biggest hindrance to reaching your goals. Extensive planning leads to extensive procrastination. When you spend excessive time researching and gathering resources, the relevance of your idea diminishes as does your motivation with the passage of time.

Don’t worry – there is a solution and it’s a solution that has been implemented since the beginning of life on earth. Using the five steps of what I like to call the “Dynamic Step Algorithm,” can help ensure you will not fall into the black hole of planning.

Envision. Advance. Review. Pivot. Repeat. These are the five steps of the Dynamic Step Algorithm.Think of it as a smarter, flexible, more efficient approach to planning.

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Envision. What do you want to accomplish? What is your goal? These are the first questions you need to ask yourself. A defined goal is an achievable goal

Advance. With the resources in front of you, be it who you know or what you know, take that first step. Not only does every journey begin with that first step, it also provides feedback as to what the next possible steps could and should be.

Review. Now that you have taken your step, review the information provided by the feedback. What further options have been opened to you? What previously predicted options have been rendered moot? Ready, get set… PIVOT.

Pivot. Based on your Review, Pivot to the path that will help you most EFFECTIVELY get to your goal. It might be a slight redirection, or it may be a more substantial shift. Your goal might have even changed based on the feedback from your Advance. Pivoting allows you to reap the benefits of your efforts during Advancing and Reviewing.

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Repeat. Did your goal change? If not, then advance on your pivot, review and further pivot accordingly. If your goal changed, then envision once more and advance again.

The utilization of The Dynamic Step Algorithm can be recognized in many aspects of life. Animals use it to survive in the wild, armies use it in battles, entrepreneurs use it to thrive in business, and parents use it in raising their children.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering: Can I completely trash the concept of planning?

No, of course not. Extensive planning works best in situations where the past is relatively predictive of the future. When it comes to personal survival either in business, in the wild or in parenting, flexibility and agility in decision making are more useful than the rigidity of extensive planning.

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For example:

Going to the grocery store to have meals for the whole week is a relatively predictable, i.e., plannable task. First, figure out what the meals would be: Main dishes, side dishes, desserts, snacks, drinks. Next decide which store you would like go to. Next you arrive at Walrus Mart (great choice, by the way!) to peruse the aisleto fulfill your shopping list. You check out and go home.

However, what if you were dropped in the wilderness, Man vs. Wild style. Or if you get seriously lost on a hike. You certainly wouldn’t be planning the week ahead. You would be taking the necessary steps to survive. You need food. Don’t choose poisonous food. You need water. No, not salt water and not stagnant water. Is nightfall approaching? You need shelter. No, not a bear cave. These are dynamic decisions deserving of the Dynamic Step Algorithm.

Envision.What do you want to do? GET HOME TO CIVILIZATION!

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Advance.What are you going to do about it? You can hear a river, head towards that.

Review.Oh no! There appears to be a hoard of spiders in your path… ehhhh better head around that.

Pivot. Take another route where there are NO hoards of spiders.

Repeat.Success! You made it to the river. Fresh water. So repeat to find food, shelter and a way out of this wilderness.

Strategic use of the Dynamic Step Algorithm helps to alleviate the paralysis of extensive planning in situations where the future is unclear and surviving business, life and parenthood are top priority.Use it whether you want to learn a new skill or embark on a new adventure. Imperfect action, is often much better than planning for perfection.

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Published on February 17, 2020

What Is a Bullet Journal and What Are the Benefits?

What Is a Bullet Journal and What Are the Benefits?

You may have heard of a productivity method called Bullet Journaling. What is a bullet journal? It is a very personal approach to getting in control of your life and becoming more productive.

It does that by allowing you to build your journal, your system, and your method of journaling with very few limitations.

Traditional journaling, or productivity systems, usually give you a template: a set way to record your information and tasks. You input the information and the system then shows you the information in a predetermined way. Not so with a bullet journal.

What Is a Bullet Journal?

With a bullet journal, you start with a number of symbols and a blank notebook (or a digital equivalent). Your choice of notebook, the pen you use, the ink color, and how you use the symbols is entirely up to you. You have complete freedom.

In a sense, with a bullet journal, instead of having a “system,” you have some best practices that guide you.

Is a Bullet Journal Right for You?

So, with that in mind, would a bullet journal work for you? That depends. A bullet journal is ideal for those who have a strong creative side: a person who does not want to be bound by constraints and limits. Bullet journals give you complete creative freedom, and for many people, that is the attraction.

However, if you are easily distracted and are a bit of a perfectionist, this lack of constraints can be a rabbit hole of lost focus and frustration. There is also the issue of the amount of time it takes to maintain a bullet journal. Depending on how you want your journal to look, these journals can take up a lot of time just to maintain. That is not for everybody.

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How a Bullet Journal Works: An Overview

A bullet journal works by giving you a blank page for each day. You have an appointments section and a to-do section, and after that, you can add anything you want.

In your to-do section, there are a few symbols you will use to indicate what has happened to a to-do:

  • A bullet – a task
  • A bullet with a cross – task complete
  • A dash – indicates a note
  • Forward arrow – task moved to another day
  • A circle – an event

That said, you can of course modify these symbols to suit your tastes.

On top of your daily pages, you will have an index page and a calendar page. How you create these is up to you..

Benefits of a Bullet Journal

1. Improves Your Mental Health

We know journaling has incredible mental health benefits. The act of journaling gives you time for reflection, time to get your thoughts out of your head, and time to review and plan.[1]  It’s a tremendous way to add some much needed perspective in your life.

When you give yourself that valuable time to yourself, you have the opportunity to slow down and contemplate, and that allows your mind to settle, calm down, and reset. In a world that is relentlessly distracting, noisy and frenetic, those quiet moments with your journal can help sooth you.

Learn more about improving your mental health: 8 Simple Ways to Be Mentally Healthy

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2. Helps You Stay on Top of Your Goals

Bullet journaling helps you stay on top of your projects and goals. Your to-do list guides you towards getting important things done each day and gives you a space to collect new tasks, opportunities and events.

Without having a place to store your ideas, tasks and events, it is very easy for these things to slip your mind. When you have a journal with you everywhere you go, it’s very difficult to miss these things because you have them written down.

Being able to see what you have planned, what you would like to achieve, and how you are progressing is a great way to keep you motivated to keep going, even when things get tough.

Read more about how to reach your goals: 6 Golden Rules to Make Progress Towards Achieving Your Goals.

3. Develops Creativity

Bullet journaling can help develop your creativity. Having a blank page every day on which to create your vision for that day engages your creative side, and the more you use your creativity, the more creative you become.

The freedom a bullet journal gives you to write, draw, color in, and develop gets your creative juices flowing. And if you need inspiration, you only need search “bullet journals” and you will be inundated with ideas and examples.

4. Lets You Write Your Life’s Story

Every day you write a few more words of your life’s story. Over time, you build an incredibly unique story — the story of your life. That one reason alone should be enough for you to go out and buy yourself a beautiful notebook in which to start writing your story.

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Most people drift through life without documenting anything. Holidays with loved ones and friends go undocumented, becoming little more than a blur of memory and a long-lost batch of photos hidden among thousands of others stored on your phone.

With a bullet journal, you can write down how you felt and who you were with, and you can print out your favorite photos and stick them into your journal to help you remember. (Yes! You can do that!)

In ten or twenty years, when you look back through your journals, you will be able to re-live those special moments and experience the feelings you had at those times.

5. Helps You Achieve Your Goals Through Writing

The act of writing down your goals is one very powerful step to take towards achieving those goals. Studies have shown that when you write down your goals, you stand a much better chance of actually achieving them.

Having a place to evaluate and review your goals helps keep you on track and keeps those goals up front and center in your life. It is very easy to sit down in the excitement of a new year and tell your friends about all the things you plan to do, only to completely forget about those goals by the end of January.

When you write your goals down in your bullet journal (you can create a goals section), you have a place to remind you of what you want to achieve. This will keep you motivated and focused.

Need more tips for staying motivated? Check out 8 Steps to Continuous Self Motivation Even During the Difficult Times.

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The Bottom Line

There are multiple benefits to keeping a journal, and the beauty of a bullet journal is that you get to create your own way of doing things. There are many resources online to guide and inspire you.

The stories and memories you record in your bullet journal will give you joy and inspiration for years to come. So the next question is, when will you start to create your own.

I have written a step-by-step guide you can use to start building your bullet journal today. This gives you guidance and ideas for the kind of notebook and pen to use, what you can store in your journal, and how to set up the basic structure.

Good luck and happy journaling!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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