5 Tips to Plan for Productivity Instead of Procrastination

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Have you ever used planning as a weapon?

Not a real weapon.
Obviously.
But as an excuse.
Which can harm...
...it stunts your growth, keeps you from moving forward and creating what you want.

Also known as procrastination.

But we don’t call it procrastination when it looks like planning.

Planning is productive. And powerful. And can be incredible.

But not when it’s actually procrastination.

And here’s why it’s dangerous.

It’s insidious. It’s difficult to tell when you’ve made the transition from planning,  which empowers. Planning helps you get the most out of your days, weeks, months, years, and life. And planning as an excuse so that you don’t have to take action.

‘Cause, if you’re anything like me, planning can be more fun (and less daunting) than taking massive action.

Yep, procrastinating is easier than implementing.

But…

The reward is short lived. When you put off tasks, guilt, worry, and self-doubt replace the inital pleasure. The goals you gently laid out drift further away.

One of the easiest ways to overcome this is learning to recognize…


WHEN PLANNING TURNS INTO PROCRASTINATION

For many small biz owners, planning is legitimate.

A great idea, in fact. When you take the time to plan out your days, weeks, months in advance you can ensure that:

  1. You know where you’re headed

  2. You know what steps to take

  3. You can avoid decision fatigue on a daily basis

The third is perhaps the most important of those reasons. We get tired. Sometimes when we have to make a decision we lean back on what feels easier which may be doing nothing. If you already know what you’re meant to do in a certain time period and you can just sit down and get to work on it.

Welp. That takes out some of the hardest stuff.

But you’ve got to learn the difference between planning and procrastinating.

Here are 5 tips to go from pointless procrastination to productive planning:

TIP #1 “IT’S NOT PRETTY ENOUGH” IS PROCRASTINATION

If you have a plan in place that could easily be followed and is ready to be implemented, then you have a plan. But you decide that it’s not “pretty enough.”

I mean this literally. That you have a plan but you want it to physically look more aesthetically pleasing.

If you’ve ever dealt with this, then you’re my people.

I totally get this and in our Pinterest-drunk-Instagram-obsessed millennial world, it’s almost inevitable that the fascination and urge for everything to be gorgeous would seep into our more practical tools.

It’s ok to like things to be pretty, but if you’ve got your plan in place and then…

...you decide that you need to recreate it in a fresh google sheets so the colors are on brand

...you realize it’s not as perfectly organized as it could possible be so you start from scratch

...you think it would be better in Trello, but you’ve never used Trello so you purchase a Trello course and binge watch it so you can move your plan over

Then you’ve gotta problem. A procrastination problem that you need to nip in the bud.

Your plan, strategy, roadmap, etc is meant to help you get to your goals. It doesn’t need to be a work of art. It needs to help you get your stuff done.


TIP #2 DON’T PLAN TOO FAR OUT

Having a vision for the next 3, 5, 10 years is perfectly lovely. And in some ways can be valuable. But if you’re turning a vision into a step-by-step action plan for the next 17 years, you’re overplanning.

All you need is a plan for the next year, with specific action steps and goals for the quarter ahead of you.

If you’re going further out than that you’re setting yourself up for frustration, burn-out, impatience, and lessened motivation. Your plan is going to change and evolve over time. It SHOULD change and evolve. You’ll never be able to anticipate every possible thing that could happen so don’t waste your time.

Have a vision for the year. And beyond if it tickles your fancy.

And then get specific just for the next 90 days. After the 90 day period, see where you are, re-evaluate, and plan again.


TIP #3 DON’T SPEND MORE TIME ON THE PLAN THAN EXECUTING ON THE PLAN…

I mean, part of the point of creating a plan is to make it so that taking action is easier, faster, and more clear, but if it took you 3.5 weeks to create your plan, which covered approximately 4.2 hours of implementation in your biz…

Well... you already know.

Yet, I know that some of you are doing this! You get so caught up in the planning that you’re losing sight of what is actually going to move the need in your business.

Implementing.

If you’re not sure what you should be focusing on an implementing, then take the Focus Formula quiz to get your unique blueprint to grow your biz.

If you’re ready to just get started creating a plan you can actually implement, then download your free planning roadmap.

Now you should be able to determine if you’re using planning as a valuable tool to support your biz. Or...a tool to help you procrastinate.

Now, don’t be hard on yourself if that’s the case. That’s what happens with heart-centered creatives. The goal is to just raise your awareness and focus on what matters.

Here are two other things to keep in mind as you go from a Power Procrastinator to Productive Planner:


TIP #4: ALLOW THE PLAN TO EVOLVE

So this was already mentioned above, but as they say, repetition is the mother of all learning so it’s worth saying again: allow the plan to evolve.

This is part of the benefit of creating a plan that’s 90 days or less — you can easily try something out and see if there’s any progress in 90 days. Now, that’s not to say if you try something that will long term impact your biz and you’re not seeing massive results from it in the first 90 days you should abandon it.

Au contraire.

You’re much better off recognizing that your biz and the marketing and mindset work you do within it IS all about the long game. But even for something that’s a relatively new endeavor, 90 days should give you enough time to evaluate what’s progressing as it should and what is a time waste.


TIP #5: DEVELOP THE SKILL OF CONSISTENCY

Lastly, develop the skill of consistency. I don’t know if consistency is technically a skill, but as I’ve experienced it, its serve to think of it like a skill rather than a natural talent. ‘Cause consistency can surely be developed, but it may take practice.

What does that look like?

Decide what is most important for you in YOUR business.

For a large number of female entrepreneurs running creative, coaching, or online small businesses, creating content is going to be something they need to do consistency in their business to see great results -- meaning a loyal audience of people interested in their work, a full 1-on-1 client roster, etc.

Content can be for social media, a blog, a video, livestream, whatever they like for their business where their ideal dreamboat clients are going to find them.

People EXPECT that they’ll learn from someone for awhile before they buy from them.

In that case, consistency would be creating some amount of content every day.

As I’ve mentioned “create first” is one of my 2018 mantras so I write every morning. The goal is to write at least 2000 words for an hour. But I don’t force myself through it when it’s not happening. The point isn’t to push yourself through resistance, it’s to take the first few steps.

Most of the time, the resistance melts away once I start and then the ideas, inspiration, and energy just flows.

But not always. And then the point was that I did what I could. If I don’t get to 2000 words, I’m not unkind to myself. I’m not mad about. I just do it again the next day.

If you’re an introvert, but you get the majority of your business from networking and referrals (well, you may want to put some other marketing strategies in place) but you may also want to develop consistency in connecting with people every day.

Consistency is a skill that can be developed. So start practicing.

Make a plan. And then put it into action.

I’ll be over here cheering for you!