Today I want to talk about a common predicament in the creative community. It’s this idea that everything has to be planned out to a T before actually taking any action. This is something I struggle with literally all the time. I’m such a planner/perfectionist. I love coming up with ideas and action plans for making them happen. But then the issue becomes that I just keep planning. Indefinitely. And I know I’m not alone there.
So I wanted to write a sort of pep talk post with some encouragement and action steps to help you actually do the things that you plan. Here goes!
Stop planning, start doing!
First of all, I don’t mean to say that you just shouldn’t ever plan anything. Planning totally has it’s place. And it can be super helpful and necessary.
But what I mean is that there comes a time when you’ve probably done enough planning. Your project might not be perfect. But if you wait for perfection in everything you do, you’ll probably never really get anything done. And sometimes, it’s just better to get things done than to get them perfect.You've done enough planning - now it's time to actually do the work! Click To Tweet
How to know when you’ve done enough planning
Every person is different. And every project is different. But there are a few tell-tale signs that can help you determine when it’s probably time to stop planning and jump right in.
- You have the basics outlined. There is always some planning needed to get new projects or ideas off the ground. But so many people do more than what’s actually necessary. The thing is – once you have the very basic things outlined for your plan, you should probably actually get started. You might need to do some extra planning or re-planning at some point. But if you don’t get started once you have the basics outlined, then you won’t get a really strong idea about what’s actually needed.
- You keep changing your mind. This is something I struggle with all. the. time. But it’s bound to happen if you plan for too long. You’ll inevitably keep getting new ideas and then you’ll constantly change directions and never actually get your project off the ground. If you find yourself doing this, it’s best to just jump in and then you might get a better idea about which route/idea is actually best. Then maybe you can put those other ideas on the back burner and potentially work on them when you complete the first project.
- You’re focusing more on what other people think. Obviously, if you’re blogging or running an online business, you have to care at least a little about what your customers/readers might think. But if you’re just constantly worried about pleasing every single person out there, you’re playing an unwinnable game. Focus on your own goals and consider the input of your actual target audience. But if you start thinking about opinions beyond that, you’ll never get anything off the ground.
How to take action
Okay, so now you know some of the top signs. But what do you actually do to get past them?
- Give yourself an end date. This is crucial for any project. You need a deadline. Set one for yourself or have an accountability partner to help you stay on track. You can set a deadline for the project as a whole and also set incremental deadlines for smaller parts of each project.
- Stop making goals. Goals are so essential to making plans and getting stuff done. But it is possible to go too far. If you just keep going and making new goals related to a project, you’ll just get distracted and never actually get anywhere. So it’s best to stick to one main goal and focus on it fully instead of constantly moving from one goal to another.
- Get started early. It’s honestly such a huge benefit to jump into a project as early as possible. This gives you a head start in getting things done. But it also helps you learn things you might not have considered before you started. So in a sense, jumping in and doing at least some of the work early can be considered part of the planning process. If you think of it like this, it might not seem as daunting!
Those are just a few of the things I’ve learned through years of getting distracted with the planning process. Having a plan is definitely a plus. But you have to actually do the work too. I hope this post gives some of you a little boost to get started in making some cool things happen this week!
Thoughts? Would love to hear from you in the comments if you have other tips or ideas on getting stuff done!