The Surprising Link between Planning and Procrastination

When it comes to procrastination, planning can be the solution or the obstacle. Managing your time sometimes helps you to stop putting things off. On the other hand, if you have trouble moving beyond the planning stage, you may wind up bogged down in analysis paralysis.

Maybe you already have signs of over-planning in your life. You read the latest bestselling diet books, but put off cutting calories and going to the gym. You want to start a business, but you do so much research that conditions change before you’re ready to launch. Learn how to turn your dreams into reality.

Use these tips to help you move from thinking to doing.

1. Accept uncertainty. It’s impossible to predict the future. Embracing change is more effective than resisting it. Being adaptable creates more security than trying to rely on a false sense of control.

2. Make an effort. Talking about something usually requires less energy than actually doing it. On the other hand, you’re going to have to put down the how-to books and pick up a hammer if you want to renovate your kitchen.

3. Learn from experience. There’s no reason to fear mistakes when you turn them into lessons on what to do next time. You’re making progress regardless of the immediate outcomes.

4. Look at the big picture. Planning goes awry if you start obsessing about small details. Take a step back and focus on your major goals.

5. Review your progress. Midcourse adjustments increase your chances of ultimate success. Develop milestones and target dates when you’ll evaluate your performance and refine your plans.

6. Be flexible. True fulfillment has more to do with spending your time engaged in meaningful activities rather than sticking to any rigid plan. Keep your purpose and core values in sight.

Make planning work to your advantage. While there are many good reasons to think before taking action, you need to do something if you’re going to reach your goals. Let your plans give you a sense of direction instead of holding you back.

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