How to Stop Planning and Start Doing

The problem with over-planning

Over-planning doesn’t lead to action

As over-planners, the cause behind our over-planning is the belief that the more planning we do, the more successful we will be. While there is a lining of truth in this, this situation is not how it usually turns out because over-planning doesn’t lead to action. There is a point where all our planning is no longer productive and we are just wasting time and brain space. At some point we just need to start, and even if it is too early, at least we started some action.

Over-planning doesn’t allow you to be flexible

The more you plan the more attached you will become to your plan. The more time you spend creating and recreating your plan, the more indignant you will be about changing your plan. Overall, the more you over-plan, the less flexible you will be able to be when something happens that makes you go off the plan.

How to stop over-planning

Track how you spend your time

The first step is to know if you are over-planning at all. When you sit down to plan anything, take note of how you are spending your time. If you notice days, weeks or longer zoom right by without you getting past the planning stage, than you are definitely over-planning.

Be intentional with what you consume

Let’s take the example of when I first wanted to create a blog. I looked up all there was about blogging. I signed up for every blogging mailing list I could, I read every (free) ebook I could, and basically consumed a crap ton of information. Now I am definitely glad I did prior research, and learned enough about blogging, but I was basically drowning in information. At some point you just need to stop consuming and start doing. You learn more from trial and error than any ebook.

Set deadlines

For a project such as starting a blog, there is no set time anyone is telling you that you need to have created your blog. This can lead to the easiest form of procrastinating, over-planning. Setting deadlines for yourself will ensure you only do what is necessary for each phase.

Break projects down

Breaking a big project into smaller pieces will be less overwhelming, allowing you to do less planning for each piece. Only do the planning for each specific piece so when all the pieces are planned you can get straight into the action.

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11 Necessary Lists to Have for an Organized and Productive Life

1. Daily to-do list

This is the very basic to-do list. I’m sure many of us already have a basic to-do list. But your to-do list can end up inhibiting your productivity if you don’t include two key thing. Prioritizing, and the two minute rule. Sometimes it seems like your to-do list can stretch on for miles, and make you feel very overwhelmed. Prioritize the top three tasks you have to get done that day, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. For the two minute rule, anything that takes less than two minutes to do, just get it done. Reply to that email. Write that birthday card. Just get that all done.

2. Weekly to-do list

Your daily to-do lists aren’t doing anything for you if they are not leading to something. That is why you need a weekly to-do list for everything you need to get done in a week. You can split that up into seven days, and there you have it, the daily to-do lists that are actually getting you to your goals.

3. Goal lists (weekly, monthly, yearly)

But what goals? Don’t just have a huge yearly goal list, you need a plan to accomplish those goals. Split them up into bite-size chunks, by making a plan. To make this plan first split your yearly goals into twelve pieces which are your monthly goals. Then split each piece into four pieces, which are your weekly to-do lists. Now you have a plan for how to accomplish your large goals. Another option instead of a goal list is a goal journal. My favorite one is this amazing yearly goal tracking and achieving workbook.

4. Meal planning list

Keeping a running list of what your meals will be for the next 5-7 days is so helpful for staying organized. It ensures you know what groceries to buy, it ensures you know the nutrients you are getting and if you need more, and it prevents over eating because you will only have what you planned to eat in your fridge. Nothing more, nothing less. Just make sure you plan in desert. 😉

5. Budget list

In staying organized, you definitely want to keep track of the money going in and out of your bank account. Bills, paychecks, anything. Even if you are like me and all you get is a small allowance, still keep track of your money. You never know what could come up in the future.

6. Spending list

This closely relates to the budget list, except it doesn’t include your bills and regular payments. This list is for your spending. Are you spending more money on Amazon than on food? That would be a great thing to know. Then you figure out ways to limit your Amazon spending and have more money to put into savings.

7. Running grocery list

Like a daily to-do list, a grocery list is pretty common. But all too often we find ourselves forgetting things we need to get. To solve this, I suggest putting your grocery list somewhere easily accessible, for example on your fridge, so whenever you think of something you can add it on. Then when it is time to go to the store, you can just grab your grocery list and head out.

8. Emails to send and emails to reply to

All too often we forget about those pesky emails we need to send, or those emails we just never got around to replying too. Well with this list, when you have some free time you can tear through the emails on that list, so there are no loose ends. I recommend keeping this list on your phone.

9. Books to read and shows to watch list

Who doesn’t want more entertainment. But seriously, in our day and age, new books and TV shows surround us. There is always more to watch and read. I suggest you keep this list on your phone, and add to it anytime a book or show interests you.

10. Accomplishment list

It is so easy to get swept up in what we haven’t done, or what we still have to do, that we often forget about how far we’ve come. Keep this list somewhere you will see it every day, and let it bring you motivation to get more things done.

11. Not to-do list

What is a not to-do list? Mine looks like this.

  1. Go on phone during work breaks
  2. Stay inside all day
  3. Worry about something in the far future
  4. Think about things I have no control over

It’s pretty short, but you get the idea. Also keep this list where you will see it, and let it guide you for a more productive and organized day.

Thank you for reading!