Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Gap Between Planning and Doing - How to Bridge It?

This is inspired by a question one student K. Siva Prasad Raju asked of me today. 'I plan, but I find it difficult to implement. Any suggestions?' I sent him off a mail on what I thought were things to watch out for and do. And then I thought it might be well worth sharing here as well. Do feel free to add your valuable nuggets to my thoughts!

Some reasons and things to be do or not do when implementing your plan:

1) First ensure that the plan has a time limit. Every broken down stage of the plan should also have time limits. Only when there is a deadline do we work, so set your time limits and stick to them. Put those deadlines in someplace where you can see it and feel the urgency.

2) Make sure that the plan is not too tough to implement in the initial stages. Make the transition gentle. Eg. If you are currently working for 2 hours everyday, the plan should make it 2.5 hours for a week, and then 3 hours the next week. (If you suddenly go up to 5 hours it will be difficult.) Make all plans grow incrementally, in small bites, so you can digest it easy. Just ensure that what you set for yourself is not too easy or too difficult. It should be just the right balance and make you stretch enough.

3) Don't give up for a long stretch of time if you really need to break from the routine. Many times we feel like giving up especially if something bigger comes up - illness, travel, exams etc. In such times make up for the lost time through extra hours later, or by slightly adjusting and reviewing your plan. But don't shift your end deadline! Do this within the smaller goals. If you planned 21 hours a week, make up the lost 10 hours in the other days by additional hours.

4) Normally starting trouble is a problem. Some days 3 hours will seem too big. On such days tell yourself to work for only 5 minutes (lazy days sepcial). On days that you feel like doing nothing - tell yourself "its okay if I dont do 3 hours today. I will do 10 minutes". Normally once you start, you will do much longer and feel much better. Slow down, but don't stop. Even 5 or 10 minutes everyday - one concept, one idea is good enough.

5) Get yourself a support group. Get yourself a group that has similar goals so each one pushes the other. This is a powerful and important step and can make you achieve more than you set out to. Initially everyone needs a group or some coach or mentor to keep pushing you. Find a supportive group that adds to your energy, motivates you when down and pushes you just that bit more.

6) Tell people who care about you about your plan. It helps because you now put more responsibility on yourself by telling them. These should also be people who support your ideas not people who do not support them. People who will encourage your ideas even in thought. They add to you.

7) Avoid people, things that take up too much of your time away from your goal - they draw away your energy. Do things that energise you and put you in a positive frame of mind. Be careful of things and people that make you feel less than, low and dull. They take away from you.

8) Take 100% responsibility for your plans and dreams and motivate yourself each day with positive talk and affirmations. It helps to see your plans, your little tags, quotes in your face. It is hard work and needs great mental strength. All this adds to your mental strength, just like going to a gym builds muscle.

9) Make a daily progress workbook and write down your everyday progress in that. When you look at the progress everyday, it shows what you did well and what you did not. Don't brood over it, do it.

10) Appreciate and give yourself a reward after each small victory or achievement. Celebrate with something nice for yourself. Put that up on your fb account and say YES, I did it!

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