Many people like making plans more than to take action.
I am not only talking about outlining a story or novel, but pretty much all kinds of preparation for all kinds of activities. At times we can get obsessed with it, trying to get everything right.
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It should be obviously that if you want to succeed with any sort of activity you need to plan ahead. Especially if you are self-employed and work online, you won’t get far without any sort of planning and strategy.
The problem with plans
Excessive planning though is nothing but procrastination. The activity of planning ahead, thinking about our next step and outlining those in detail feels easier than actually doing it. It is fun to think about what we want to do when and what sort of goals we want to reach. We might tell ourselves that we need this sort of careful planning, but in the end we just tell that to ourselves so we don’t have to take action. We are indeed procrastinating.
Planning things to perfection will only do one thing, it will restrict you and leave no room for improvisation. When things go wrong, we are in turmoil and we feel like everything is going wrong. So we go back to our timetable or scheduler and start anew trying to create an even better plan for ourselves. That is not how things should be, because we are wasting valuable time.
My personal obsession with planning
When I was younger I wouldn’t just work on a story, but instead I spent weeks outlining it, writing down names for places, characters, chapters and many other things. At times I never even started to write the story itself because I caught up too deeply in my plans.
Working online too had many chances for me to plan things out. Instead of taking action I would prepare all my activities ahead of time in detail, I’d gather all kinds of material and examples only to push of the starting point of a blog, a campaign or anything else further and further ahead. The problem was that all the planning and preparations wasn’t doing me any good because I never took any actual action. To learn and improve in any sort of activity though you need to take action. e.
The recommended solution
The answer is not to start working without having any plans of action. Doing something blindly is not the right way either and can have even worse results.
What you should do instead is to only create rough and flexible plans. Never spend an excessive amount of time doing so. The majority of your time should always be spend on taking action and actually doing things.
The best way to plan ahead for short-term activities, like the next week is to simply state the goals you have for the next week and how you plan on reaching them. Write down the activities for each day and when you want to do them. That should be it and it shouldn’t take a long time. You should generally do that on Sunday evening so you don’t spend any time during the week on that.
One thing I like to do as well is to spend the first fifteen minutes each morning to just sit down in front of my computer and simply write down what I want to do today. I simply write down my expectations for the day. What that does is that it gives me a very rough plan and also helps me to focus better. However you do it though, your plans should be short, clear and structured for the activities you want to do. Then spend the rest of the day or week taking action.
Now I know that at times there is a need for more complex plans, especially for long term activities. Here I can simply advice you to plan things as detailed as necessary and do so as quickly as possible. Focus on the key points and don’t waste time on little things.
In the end it should be said that planning and preparing things should never take a long time and it should never take more time than the actual activity. In general things won’t go right the first time around anyways, it doesn’t matter much time you spend on planning them. Unpredictable things can and will happen. There is no perfect plan. Instead of trying to get things right beforehand, just take action and risk things to go wrong.
Like I did with this post.