There are so many beautiful promises surrounding this one simple change you’re expected to make.
All our problems will be reduced to nothing once we figure out how to plan correctly!
But how much of that is really true?
Today I’m going to show you the 10 most common planning myths.
1. Planning is the path to Fast Success. WRONG!
Once you start planning the things in your life, you will get on the fast track to success and living the dream in no time!
We’ve all heard some kind of variation of this. And it’s complete nonsense.
Planning does not guarantee fast, easy results. What it does do is give you the ability to put in the work necessary to achieve results. Imagine you’re going to cook lasagna and you’ve put down all the ingredients on the table instead of searching for each one when you need it.
Does this mean that your part is ready and you’ve finished making lasagna? Of course not. You still have to do the work! But you have made the entire process easier for yourself, and given yourself the opportunity to focus on the things that matter.
2. Planning has to be Complex. Is it? NOOO!
You might think that don’t have a real plan unless you have an in-depth to do list highlighting every step and a calendar that tells you what to do every single minute of the day.
While people that live their life like this actually exist, and some of them might even thrive in this environment, this it’s not a friendly approach when you’re just starting out with planning.
Planning can be really simple. Sometimes all you need is a short list of what needs to be done and that’s it. Planning should provide clarity, and going in too deep can give the opposite effect.
You don’t have to wait until you’ve perfected your to do list before you get to work. What’s important is to have a plan and start as soon as possible.
3. Planning will enable the Lifetime-Vacation lifestyle. NOT IMMEDIATELY!
You’re pretty much done once your plan is in place and you might as well set yourself for early retirement now.
Like everything in life, plans can fail. And that is OK, btw! With proper planning and hard work, you’re definitely setting yourself up for success, and that’s what you should focus on. Obviously, don’t get too pessimistic about this. But keep your expectations in check, plan effectively and work hard. And don’t stop until you have reached every single one of your goals.
4. Planning is Rigid and Masculine. WRONG!
Being disciplined is one of the best traits you can have, and will pay off tremendously throughout your life. But it’s important to realize that there is a difference between being disciplined and rigid. Plans can change. And if you want to be successful, you need to master and apply adaptive planning when necessary.
In theory, anyone can come up with the perfect plan that will deliver untold riches. “Planning is easy. Reality is a lot harder” – Lisbon, The Mentalist movie. What a lot of people don’t realize, is that there always are a few things that can stand in the way, execution is one of them, obstacles that weren’t accounted for is another. Being able to identify when real change is needed and acting on it will be what separates the people who will become successful and who will not.
Because the perfect plan doesn’t exist.
5. Planning will allow you to Travel Around the World. NOT THAT EASY!
Specific, measurable and active planning obviously is the road to success. But there will always be people that take it a step too far. Yes, you will free up time. Yes, you will be more productive. No, it won’t mean you’ll have so much free time and make so much more money that you can suddenly travel all around the world.
What we’re going for is a simple change that enhances your life in a realistic way. You will receive so many benefits from taking the time to plan your actions. But work will still be work. No matter how good your planning is, that 20-page report will still take time to make or, to outsource!
6. Planning is Time Consuming. WRONG!
This misconception most likely originates from the same people who think that planning means locking down every part of your schedule for the sake of “productivity”. If you think that you don’t have time to plan. Then that probably means that you need planning even more than most of us.
Planning is not hard. Planning is not time consuming. All you need is to take a few minutes out of your day to think about how you’re going to do something, and when. How much time you take to specify this is up to you, but I’d say you wouldn’t need more than 10 minutes in general. It doesn’t actually matter that much how little time you spend on it at the start, what matters is that you do start.
7. Planning will make you The Money to Retire Your Spouse. MAYBE, BUT WHY WOULD YOU?
I really don’t like this one because it sets expectations that aren’t even close to reality. Planning can boost work-life balance. Planning can boost productivity. You wouldn’t believe how freeing it is to have a proper plan in place unless you experience it.
However, planning alone will not bring you fast income to retire your spouse.
There are so many other factors that come into play when it comes to making money, and planning is just a cog in the wheel. An important cog, nonetheless, but a cog. Instead, teach your spouse what you have learned about planning to double the benefits and inspire him to build his own “empire” and own his time, energy and money so that you BOTH retire when you have reached a steady sufficient income.
8. Planning requires Perfect Execution. WRONG!
Perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be. And it’s not necessary to become a successful planner. In fact, I’d argue it’s what would probably get in your way the most. With planning, you want to save time and effort. But what happens when you try to create the perfect plan?
You make it harder than it has to be. You take more time than you need to. And in the end, you have no guarantee that your plan is actually perfect. It’s just perceived as perfect.
Simple, effective, and straight-forward. That’s all a plan should be, nothing more. Planning is a skill, and you will notice that it will get progressively easier over time. But it will never be perfect, and trust me when I say that you will never need it to be.
9. Planning is the fast way to the 4-Hour Work Week. NOT REALLY!
Readers of Tim Ferris’ widely respected book called “The 4-Hour Work Week” may have ended up with a false expectation. Now don’t get me wrong, the time-savings you can get from incorporating planning into your life are huge. Although that doesn’t mean necessarily mean that you’ll be working 4 hours a week from now on.
You might be able to cut back a significant portion of your work week depending on your occupation and work field, but it’s very specific. A nurse is never going to be able to work 4 hours a week. A successful entrepreneur with a business that’s mostly automated could.
That said, always look to improve your planning and routines and you will see positive results. Whether it’s to streamline your work process, to increase or decrease your work volume or to simply allow yourself to show up when you need to. You will see results!
10. Planning is a One-Man Hobby. NOT REALLY!
You really don’t have to do this alone. In some cases, it’s even better not to. Including others in your plans can not only give you new insights you would have never come up with by yourself, it will also make your job easier.
And let’s be honest, you’re not going to tell your friends that you’re going to go to the gym 5 times a week and then let them laugh at you for quitting after a week. By discussing your plans, you’re keeping yourself accountable. And this will get you much farther than you would have gone by yourself.
Now you know!
Planning doesn’t have to be this complicated thing you spend a lot of time on. All you have to do is slow down and take a moment to plan for the day. Crush all of the things you set out for yourself on that day. And relax.
Set goals that are measurable and easy to interpret. It’s important to keep things simple, but try to leave as little room for assumptions as possible.
Don’t say: “I want to lose weight.”
Say: “I want to lose 10 lbs. in a month.”
Do this for every single project you have, write it all down and watch your productivity go through the roof. I have never planned something out and regretted it because I shouldn’t have planned it out so well. As long as you are realistic in your expectations, you can achieve anything.
Take 10 minutes every morning to put your ideas on paper. It doesn’t have to have any kind of structure, just write it down. Write down everything that crosses your mind. By doing this every day before anything else, you’re starting the day off in a productive manner and with a clear mind.
New habits are hard to build. That’s why I recommend to only introduce one habit at a time. Do this for 2-3 weeks to fully internalize this new step before moving on to the next one.
Even if it feels like a drag to follow up on, keep doing what you need to do. You will fail. And that’s okay. Quitting is not. Try. Fail. And try again tomorrow.
"Back in 2015, after recovering from a toxic approach toward work, I finally understood that I need help with organizing my life and time. I started brain dumping to free my mind of too much of information. Soon after that I started crafting a planner to keep track of progress, while also talking about this progress with friends whom I asked to use the same planner. It was so much easier to see that others struggles are similar to mine. It felt I was human after all, and I am not alone. I was terrible at planning at first, BUT, I got better and better every month, just by purging the to do list from unnecessary tasks, and by removing toxic habits (still working on this), and toxic relations from my life."
How to Take Action
Before you can start planning, you need to be able to answer the following questions: