Some of us love planning, others not so much, but either way I think we can agree that if we do take the time to plan, we want that time to be well spent. So let’s make sure to spend our time wisely and by avoiding these 3 Planning Pitfalls.

#1 Setting unrealistic expectations of yourself or others

Our philosophy on planning is setting right-sized goals. We know there are those of you that subscribe to the, “Aim for the stars and you’ll hit the moon” type of thinking but we’ve found it leaves people feeling discouraged even when they make significant progress towards a goal. We agree with Susan David Ph.D in her book, Emotional Agility, where she speaks about how to determine if you are setting the right goals. One trick I use to help myself set realistic work goals is to count the number of workdays I have to complete a goal. It’s grounding and helpful because while I might feel like I have 90 days or 3 months to accomplish something it can be as little as 49 days or less than 2 months! That is a huge difference. 

#2 Making your plan too complicated

Over-planning is a thing. I used to do this when I was a real estate agent. I would spend a ton of time on my one year plan. Calculating where all my business would come from and using those percentages to back out how many of each type of client I would need to reach my income goal for the year. And it never, never worked out that way. The plan was so complicated I didn’t like looking at it. But somehow, I felt I had to plan that way because that’s what I had learned to do. Now I do things at a much higher level. I look at what I want to accomplish and make my best guess as to how I’m going to get there. I still set financial goals and the only math I do is to make sure that we have the capacity to hit those goals. Otherwise, I focus on the activities that are going to get me there. My personal plans are never longer than a page and our entire business planning for both the goals I own and the ones Marissa owns fit on 2-3 pages. It’s a framework we revisit again and again. Which brings us to the next pitfall.

#3 Expecting your plan to be static

A plan is nothing more than a framework that you are constantly building on. A lot of what we think is going to work – doesn’t. Or we learn something in the process that presents an unexpected opportunity. Our goals are not changing. But the way we are going about accomplishing them can and will as we learn. This approach is in alignment with running a lean and nimble operation.

Ready to make a plan of your own? Download: Map It: Your 1-Page Plan for the Next 12 Weeks. You’ll be glad to know we took the 3 planning pitfalls into consideration when we designed it.

Want to take your planning to the next the level? Join us for one of our Fall Planning Workshops. Stay tuned for details.