January 2022. Can you overplan?
In last month’s newsletter I talked about making resolutions and goal setting – how to do this and what to do. My diary for 2022 is all planned out with colour blocks for different projects. I’m ready to go. I like a plan, me. But then the thought struck me…
Is it possible to over plan?
There are some common mistakes you can make if you’re a planner.
1. Planning as another form of procrastination. You spend so much time creating lovely plans (which have to be revisited frequently because they were so lovely, they were unachievable) and in the end you spend too much time planning, and not enough doing. Aim to spend 10% time planning and 90% doing. The 10/90 rule is actually encouraging you to make the effort to plan, but I think it can apply in reverse – to stop you over planning.
(I’ve also heard writers say that if they over-plan a novel it becomes difficult to write because you know what’s going to happen. Putting words on a page is then a chore rather than a voyage of discovery. I certainly think there is a balance to be found somewhere in there).
2. Being over ambitious. I think it’s really easy to underestimate how long something will take. When pitching for writing projects where the employer wanted a flat rate rather than offering a price per word, I would always work out how long I thought it would take and then double that before I gave my quote. I never felt I’d been overpaid! Remember you will hit snags, and you also need frequent breaks. I try to use the pomorodo method when I’m sitting at my desk, (with an app called Be Focused) and have recently found this great resource if you’re planning your day, which hopefully will help you, not only to be less ambitious, but also to celebrate what you do achieve.
3. Finally, it is possible to make the mistake of thinking so much about the future that you forget to enjoy the present. Life hack blog has more about that. I certainly remember doing that when the kids were young (Once they go to school, I’ll…. When they’re older we can…), but now I wish I’d savoured that time a bit more because now it’s gone.
It’s been another slow start to the year for me, not least because I had covid, which is horrible I can tell you, and I’m still having days with no energy and fuzzy thinking. But before it struck I had a Children’s books Christmas Quiz published in Words and Pictures. Have a go if you missed it, and let me know how you get on! I tried it out on family and friends and realised it was pretty hard
How to write
I talked about planning last month and have done so again this time, so maybe it’s time for a little self-help book about being organised. This is my favourite book. It’s short, to the point, and easy to remember. And I love the title. Eat that frog refers to the idea that you should always do the worst task first and then everything else will be easy.