planning v. producing

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

//voce cafe//

Producing > planning. When I'm planning, I'm nurturing the perfectionist inside myself. This woman can write to-do lists, type out optimum strategies, and gather research all day long. Planning is my way of managing imperfect information and controlling what I can. The problem with planning is that it's not results-oriented. I can have the most detailed plans... and nothing to show for them. On those days when I felt really busy but in hindsight don't know what I actually accomplished - those were planning days. My goal for the rest of this month and for July is to execute better. This means diving into a project and letting the next action steps appear naturally v. attempting to map out each detailed to-do from start to finish, sending that email without waiting for the exact right words to come, just editing those photographs v. writing a list of all the sets of photographs that need to be edited. Done is better than perfect.

My action steps:
  1. Spend 15 minutes at the beginning of the week and 10 minutes every morning mapping out the week/day, and then stop there. Whenever I'm feeling tired or out of focus, I have this bad habit of editing and adding to my to-do list. That just makes me feel even more tired and overwhelmed. I'm going to change that by only taking out my planner when I have a new idea or need to cross something off my list. Ten minutes of solid planning is enough for a day's worth of execution.
  2. Determine my TOP 10. Prioritization is key to feeling that sense of accomplishment. I can get 10 non-critical things done and still feel anxiety because I didn't finish that one thing that I was really supposed to be working on. Each week, I'm asking myself, what do I really want to accomplish this week? This week, I have 7 priorities that I know I'll feel great having accomplished by the end of the week.
  3. Create something every day. I love inspiration and seeking out inspiration, but "inspiration-hunting" for me can often devolve into time wasted on blogs, twitter feeds, news articles, and Pinterest. I'm holding myself accountable to creating something everyday, whether it be a blog post, an appendix for my thesis, or an online photo album.
Any tips for making the most of your time? I'd love to know.

This week, I'm also on my BFF Hollyanne's awesome lifestyle blog, hk in love, featured in her new series on coffeehouses.


Hollyanne Fricke said...

love this. definitely something i struggle with a lot, too. at work we started using producteev for task management, and i really like it so far, because i can add something to my list via gchat or email, and then move on, and look at it when i need a refresher or to cross something off. i usually like having a paper list, but i've found that i'm less inclined to stare at and constantly edit an electronic list, so i'm starting to compromise with myself haha.

Claire M-C said...

This is a great list! I hadn't thought about number 3, but I think I will try it out!

One thing that I've started doing is writing down a `have done' list at the end of the day, or at the end of the week. Often I don't manage to put things on my to-do list that actually do take time, and I actually really do need to do them (example: buy plane tickets to Paris), but they're not the things I think about when I plan (that is, mostly school work).

Writing down what I actually did at the end of the day a) makes me feel like less of a failure when not everything on my to-do list is crossed off - because now I realize that it was just a faulty to-do list after all - and b) helps me understand where my time is really going, and how much time things actually take.

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