Planning too much: How to overcome the planning fallacy.

If you want to get organized, you need to plan and prioritize your tasks. Proper planning lets you figure out the progression of your project with ease and encourages the reasonable use of resources and energy.

Simple as it sounds, planning can be a draining task, involving a lot of pondering and delving into details. When creating a plan, cut down on the rush and take enough time to consider every detail that might come across as important.

In an ideal world, a clear plan is like a map for any task within a project. However, our world is complex and fast moving.

In a complex and fast changing environment detailed planning becomes ever more difficult. Though we still need a clear goal or vision of what we want to achieve, the path towards it often needs to remain more flexible. Changing customer needs, new offerings from competitors, ideas from your co-workers or changing priorities of your boss all lead to changes in the pre-planned acitivities.

To achieve your goals, you need to build in some flexibility in your plan. What to do?

The best way to get the benefits of daily or weekly planning without wasting energy on plans that will never live up to their promises is to adopt a more relaxed approach to it.

Too much planning is a form of Procrastination

Planning too much and in too many details is a common form of procrastination. If you find yourself refining and refining your plans instead of going to work, this might be because you are afraid or in other forms uncomfortable with the next step to take. If this is the case: stop refining and start doing.

Stop Obsessing Over the Perfect Plan

A perfect plan is often a myth. Even if you do try to create one based on the current data, you never know what might come up in the course of events. Hence, one cannot guarantee that any plans will ever be right. The goal of your plan should be to have the perfect level of clarity that will help you focus your attention and assess opportunities NOW.

Plan with decreasing granularity

In order to act, you need to know, what to focus your attention on today. It makes complete sense to plan the current day in a detailed matter. However, the more you move forward in time the more uncertainty you have. Deciding today, what exactly you want to work on next month or in half a year is dubious at best. It is a better practice to set yourself reminders or ticklers of topics you want to tackle in the future, but do not plan them in detail now. Look at them later when they really become actionable.  

Stay flexible

People often experience planning stress when they fail to understand the importance of spontaneity in the path of implementing plans. They tend to get agitated when things do not work as per plan or in case of an obstruction. In effect, they are not open to change. Stay open to respond to new opportunities as well as creative to deal with unexpected challenges.

Define successful execution

For many people involved in the creation of a plan, 100% success is achieved if they completely following through their plans. Nevertheless, this is rare. The definition of this 100% scorecard needs to be changed. Achieving 100% should be analyzed on the way you invested time based on advance data collected by you and the confidence you had in implementing them. Instead of wondering if everything went the way you planned it, make sure that you opt for the right choices when it comes to investing your time. Does it bring you closer to your goals?

Keep your goal in mind

The whole concept of creating a plan lies in deciding the result you want from the project. What is your goal or vision? The best results can be achieved through a proper intention and a defined course for the day. It is important to remind yourself that your plan helped you take a step towards the completion of the project, aimed to lead you to your destination.

Use lightweight planning tools

To create a good plan, you must be aware of the importance of using a lightweight task management tool for the purpose. Time and energy are precious. Use them to work on your goals, not to fill out forms with deadlines, interdependencies and whatever else some tools require you to define.

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