For many people, life is all about planning. I count myself among the planners of the world, and admit that organization and time management are two of the primary tools I use to bring peace and productivity into my life.
Planners and schedulers (like me) can rise up to be ready for anything. Or, even when we’re not, we easily can be, since it doesn’t take long for us to flesh out a strategy for getting things done. “Ask a busy person” as they saying goes, and you’re probably looking at one of us. We’re the overachievers, the helpers and the givers — the endlessly busy types and sometimes the workaholics, too.
Speaking for myself and the many women I talk to (because these are the kinds of women who are attracted to my coaching practice) I think it’s safe to say that, while planners may accomplish great things, they lack the spontaneity of their free-wheeling counterparts. Though we make this tradeoff voluntarily, we’re the first to admit that when in major planning mode, we’re not a lot of fun to be around (yet people flock to us when they need stuff done…and the emotional reinforcement continues…)
But, what happens when planners plan too much? Is there a point where getting ready to get ready is over the top?
I think there is. I see it in some of my clients. I’ve met many planners who use these tools to the point of addiction, scarcely able to operate without thinking things through to the point of exhaustion. I’ve worked with several people unable to make quick decisions about anything at all. It’s scary to be honest. How do people reach this point of no return?
The problem in many cases is that planning starts looking like avoidance. And procrastination. Based on fear. The result is to overthink every moment and no longer experience the moment. For how can over-planners ever let down their planning impulses to simply be?
Planning becomes harmful when it no longer serves us. I’m describing situations in which the “getting ready” to do something goes beyond the normal measure of planning and begins to interfere with execution.
It’s real, and it’s costly.
It’s costly in terms of keeping us frozen in a planning state until everything is “just right”. It’s costly in that what we’ve planned for so diligently is never realized. And it’s costly in the sense that over-planning becomes an excuse for doing nothing at all. Because it’s safer that way. Remember — planning is insurance for a job well done. Only here, the job never gets done at all.
Think back to a time when you took forever to work on that flowchart, or that schedule, or that memo. What about those weeks and weeks and weeks you trained to do that thing? Or the time you endlessly edited that email but could never bring yourself to send it out.
In my experience, this behavior, this stagnation, this sabotage is all rooted in perfectionism. Which is ultimately rooted in — you guessed it – fear.
Looking at the underlying fear is a clue into this behavior. What might you afraid of? Looking unpolished? Seeming foolish? Not having enough experience? Making a giant mistake? These fears manifest into perfectionist tendencies, and perfectionists can way over-plan, thus often do.
I have personally overcome perfectionism and my previous tendencies to over-prepare and stop living a comfortable life. I was missing out. I bet you are, too.
Get ready to get ready is not only unproductive but an obscene waste of anyone’s time. Let me know how I can help you reclaim that time, and your life.
To loosening its grip,
As a coach, writer, recovered over-doer and busyness addict, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle while the mind tries to sabotage your success. In my journey to vibrant health, I created a personalized health system of nutrition and supplementation, lifestyle changes, and I retrained my mind and the energy of my body. I view my success as the formula to my happy, healthy life. I now empower other women to create their own personalized formulas, including the tools and strategies just right for them! Amazing life shifts come from our relationships. I look forward to helping you, too!