overthinkingWhen you create a plan, are you overthinking the steps needed to reach the end goal?  Does your research go on forever? Does your plan need to be perfect before you take action? Are the tasks so complicated that you just don’t want to perform them?

If any of the above questions resonate with you, you may need to rethink your planning process.  Perfectionism and procrastination are the enemies of productivity. There is no such thing as perfect and good enough gets the job done.  Think about what motivates you – listening to music, a reward as you complete a task, inspirational quotes, whatever it is for you to stay on track to avoid procrastination.

You have an idea of something that needs to be done and you know you need a plan. A plan is a roadmap of sorts to help you get from point A-creating a plan, to point B-the end goal. It’s important to have a plan.  When you go on a road trip, you wouldn’t begin your journey without mapping out the route, would you?

When you create a plan, you need to start with an end goal.  Think about what your idea would look like if it were complete, that’s the end goal. You may not understand what tasks need to be done to reach that end goal, so you start researching the idea.

The research phase may continue longer than necessary if you’re overthinking what needs to be done. When you keep the plan simple, it’s more likely that you will reach the end goal in a timely manner.  During your research you may find several ways to accomplish the same thing.  Don’t linger on deciding on an option, make a decision.  Set a limit on the time spent researching the options.

At the end of the research phase, you will have a list of tasks required to reach the end goal, and you should have an idea of the priority of the tasks or steps. Decide on the start date; this is when your project will begin with the first step.

The research may not have provided the amount of time needed to complete some or all of the tasks.  This could be problematic if you’ve never performed these tasks before. This is another area where overthinking can delay getting to the implementation piece of the plan.  Factor in what you believe to be a realistic time to complete each task, then add some time as a learning curve.

Schedule all of the steps in a planner – paper or electronic, whichever works best for you. Your plan, or roadmap is now ready for you to put into action to reach your end goal.  If it doesn’t look perfect, or you’re not feeling ready to start, remember that perfectionism and procrastination are the enemies of productivity.  Stop overthinking the wonderful work you just completed and take action to reach your end goal.