Is planning killing your productivity?

Fail to plan, plan to fail is a common mantra in business. And with good reason. Poor planning is one of the key reasons cited for business failures – but too much planning can be nearly as dangerous, says a top entrepreneur.

Ilya Pozin, founder of web design and marketing company Ciplex, says the best entrepreneurs are those that can find a balance between planning and doing. He offers six tips to help you find yours.

  1. Set a time limit

What you might convince yourself is attention to detail may actually be no more than procrastination.

“Place your focus on getting ideas off the ground, rather than agonizing over the details,” says Pozin.

Set a reasonable limit for how long you will spend planning a project before you start implementing it, or set daily, weekly or monthly limits for time spent on overall planning. Pozin suggests around 60 minutes per week as a good average.

  1. Get moving and maintain momentum

“So you have a bunch of ideas or projects you’ve been planning out both mentally and physically? Drop your fear of failure and nail down a start date,” says Pozin.

Whether it’s tomorrow or next week, decide when you will begin and stick to it.

  1. Visualize your goal and act accordingly

Pozin suggests taking a big picture approach to what you’re trying to achieve: What is the overall purpose of your project?

With this in mind, Pozin suggests creating the minimum viable product that will achieve that outcome (MVP) and improving it based on necessity.

  1. Trial and error

Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect from the outset. Have options, room to move and potential for change.

  1. Live by the 80/20 rule

Generally speaking, 20 per cent of what you do will produce 80 per cent of your results.

“So when it comes to that project you’re currently stalled on, look at the big picture and systematically remove steps until you end up with just the basic 20 per cent that gives you 80 per cent of what you need. By accomplishing these you will be fighting the need to create a completely perfect end product and also boosting your efficiency.”

  1. Trust your gut

Trust your own abilities and let go of your fears, says Pozin.

Planning to perfection isn’t realistic. You’re never going to get it perfect anyway, so you might as well just get it done and accept that you will always have to tackle problems in the future.”

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