Let’s be honest! You can do everything you plan, when you plan it, only if you know yourself very well, have done that task before and know how long it takes and the last but not the least, you are comfortable to ask for help when needed.
To make planning work for you, you’ve got to know and demolish these myths:
1. “I can memorize what I want to do, no need to plan it.”
If you have a mid-long-term plan written down you will feel that your life has more meaning. This will bring you clarity, increase your self-esteem and improve your wellbeing. It doesn’t matter if your plan happens or not. According to a study published in the Applied Research in Quality Life journal (2010), just the planning and anticipation of a holiday can make you happier than the actual vacation. Why wouldn’t this be applicable for life design, too? Wouldn’t you feel better in your own life if you plan it a little bit? Don’t worry, you can still live 100% in the present, be spontaneous and agile like a puma if you have a plan in the corner drawer.
2. “If I make a plan, I will be more productive.”
Planning is about making things happen. Productivity is about prioritizing and making the important things materialize the way they should. To be productive sometimes you might need to leave projects unfinished, give up on a plan etc. Detach and move on if productivity is your goal. The reverse also fits: if you stick to the plan because the final goal is important, even if you are not productive, if the plan is good, you will reach the goal. In fewer words, like Edison, you might discover 1000 ways in which a plan doesn’t make you more productive. Sometimes what you need, is perseverance. And productivity is just white noise.
3. “If I have a plan, I will definitely have results.” Or the reverse “why plan because it doesn’t work anyways.”
A plan is like a map. To get from A to B you need action. You need to start the journey and stay on the road. It doesn’t matter that it will take 10 days instead of 5, it’s important to dare and do it. Each step forward will charge your batteries to make another step and then one more. If you just hung the map on the wall and you see a dot labeled “Paris”, each day, it doesn’t mean that you also SAW Paris. “Plans don’t work unless you do.”
4. “I can’t tell you my dreams because then they won’t come true anymore.”
I think dreams can be split in 2 categories: the “keep me secret” ones and the “share me now” ones. The “keep me secret” need to be kept inside your head. They need to grow and clarify. You need to fall in love with them first and get some butterflies. With that love and the energy they generate, you will feel ready to share them on. The “share me now” type are the ones that can’t come true without the help of others. They need to become viral first and the more you share them, the more attractive they become to other people, the bigger the chances to become real. For the “keep me secret” you need to make a clarification plan. For the “share me now” you need to make a PR plan.
5. “The more I plan, the better the results”.
There is no clear connection between the time spent on planning and the quality of the results a plan will have. Because between “plan” and “results” there is a second step: ACTION – very important one! Planning, action and results require 3 different sets of skills. Make sure you don’t plague your life with “paralysis by analysis”. Your final goal is not to become a planning expert after all (unless this is your job), but to achieve results from the actions you plan and implement.
6. “My plans just gather dust.”
If your thinking was too complex when you made those plans, yes, it’s very possible that you won’t feel motivated to implement them. A plan needs to be useful, simple and actionable. Make it “accomplishable” to fit your strengths and skills with a cherry on top.
7. “If you planned, stick to your plan.”
Nope. It’s useful to know where you see yourself in 10 years or in 5 years. It’s good to have a target and think of at least 3 ways to hit the bullseye. To make a plan for the next year, detail down the next 6 months. There are many paths you can take to reach the same target. On the road you can meet obstacles beyond what you could predict at the beginning. So, be opened to “route recalculation” whenever it’s necessary.