What To Do When You Love Planning a Little Too Much
If there's one thing I love to do, I love to come up with a good plan. One of my greatest joys is picking out a new planner (which I do twice a year because academic and calendar, duh). There's nothing quite like creating color-coordinated lists with my trusty flair pens. Then there's the research, endless hours on Pinterest, and more and more lists.
I absolutely love planning so much that sometimes I get stuck in the planning phase. The anticipation and excitement of what's to come is such an amazing feeling that it's hard to move past it.
Of course, part of the hesitation is the fear that the outcome won't live up to your expectations. That's a big one for me. I set such high expectations for everything which sometimes leaves me disappointed and most times makes me hesitant to start.
In the last few months I was getting paralyzed more and more by my fear of starting. From blog ideas to weekend plans with friends, I wasn't taking the first step. Whether it was fear, lack of motivation, or just that love of planning, nothing was getting started. So I started experimenting with how to stop planning and start doing.
Set strict deadlines.
Sometimes all you need is a reason and what better reason than a strict deadline. It's like when a bill is due. You would never hesitate to pull out that checkbook and write that check to cover your rent. If you don't send it in by a certain date, there are penalties.
If you have a project or are planning a trip and just can't pull the trigger, start setting deadlines. Make them reasonable but also pressing. Like don't say you have two months to get started when it really should be started in the next few days.
If you're really bad at meeting deadlines, you might want to set some rewards. I do my work a lot faster when I know that Pretty Bird closes at 6pm and I'm cut off from my favorite iced coffee.
Choose an accountability buddy.
I found the magic of an accountability "buddy" when I joined the Tone It Up community in 2014. Having someone checking in on you makes all the difference when you're trying to just do it.
A good accountability buddy is someone who you're kind of afraid to let down but who will encourage you the whole way. Whenever you hit a road block, this is the person who's going to remind you why you've got to do it and will remind you that you can do it.
A good accountability buddy is also going to check in on you whenever they see you getting too relaxed. But they'll also enjoy a nice glass of wine when you meet those goals.
Mix in the tough tasks with the fun tasks.
Now there are many ways to tackle a to-do list. Some people subscribe to the grit your teeth and do the worst parts first. That way you're done and you can do the fun stuff without worrying.
What I like to do is mix it up. Much like setting up deadlines with rewards, mixing fun tasks in with the tougher tasks makes it easier to push through a plan. In fact, just set up one of those "funner" tasks as your reward. A prime example is when I have to tackle grading and blogging on the same night. If I grade two nights worth of homework then I can check in on Instagram. You know, just getting things done and having fun.
When you think about it, just do it.
This is the number one thing that's helped my overplanning, procrastinating self: when you think about it, just do it. If it pops into your mind, hey, I need to answer that email, rather than adding that to your to-do list, just do it.
If you're thinking that you should do something and you're actually in the right place to do it (aka you have all the tools to make it happen), there's no reason not to get it taken care of. I would call it a life hack if it wasn't so obvious that you should just do things when you're supposed to.
There are quite a few things I'm planning that I need to DO.
There are a lot of things on my lists (yes, plural because you can't have just one) that I'm tired of being too afraid and too lazy to get started.
The first thing is booking my big summer trip. We are planning an almost two week road trip from San Francisco to Seattle in August. Yes, I am so, so excited! But I'm putting off booking anything because I want it to be absolutely "perfect" and also a bargain. Again, setting those way too high expectations. This weekend it's time to start booking. My deadline for booking the first half of the trip is next Friday. Then I'm pouring myself a big glass of wine, possibly from Napa.
Another thing is for Wear She Blossoms. For a long time I have hemmed and hawed over doing some sort of interview series focused on personal style. But I never sat down to actually plan it. Which is way worse than overplanning! Finally, with a few extra days on my hand for spring break, I put together the first draft of my questions. My goal is to create my final draft and send out those emails by the end of April.