But that doesn’t mean that you should just give up and not make a plan. It means that you should embrace a realistic expectation of what planning can and can not do for you:
Planning Can Not:
The importance of realistic planning was re-emphasized for me in the completion of my book manuscript, which I turned in this summer. I would like to share a bit with you about this simple yet very powerful secret to dramatically reduce stress:
On Time is Late
I’m a realistic optimist in the sense that I think very positively but I plan very responsibly. A very simple, yet important principle that I’ve incorporated into my planning is the idea that “on time is late.”
This principle resulted from the fact that I used to plan to do things “on time,” yet then sometimes ended up super stressed out or slightly missing deadlines whenever something unexpected happened.
To solve that problem and reduce my anxiety, I started setting personal deadlines for myself before the actual deadlines. With short, rather predictable projects, that could look like simply making a goal to get things done the day before they’re due. But with larger, more complex projects, like my book, that means pushing myself to try to get everything done far in advance of when it is due.
For instance, I finished writing my manuscript two and a half weeks before my deadline so that I would have a few weeks to go back through and do the style edits and proofreading. And I’m so glad that I did! This is my first book writing project, and I vastly underestimated how long it would take me to do all of the fine tuning and tweaks. But because I gave myself extra time and a personal deadline before my “real” one, I had the time to do what needed to be done and even to delegate some of the work.
This one mental shift in your approach to planning could dramatically decrease your stress levels. Here are some ideas of how to apply the concept of “on time is late” in other areas of your life:
Aiming for early will play a dramatic role in helping you to achieve more success with less stress!
To your brilliance!
Elizabeth Grace Saunders is the founder and CEO of Real Life E® a time coaching and training company that empowers individuals who feel guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feel peaceful, confident and accomplished through an exclusive Schedule Makeover™ process. She is an expert on achieving more success with less stress. Real Life E® also increases employee productivity, satisfaction and work/life balance through custom training programs.
McGraw Hill is publishing Elizabeth’s first book in January: The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success With Less Stress.
Elizabeth has appeared in Inc magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes and on NBC and is a monthly contributor to the99Percent.com blog on productivity for creative professionals. She was selected as one of the Top 25 Amazing Women of 2010 by Stiletto Woman and as a member of the Young Entrepreneurs Council featured inThe New York Times, The Huffington Post, Mashable, and many other media outlets.
Elizabeth’s time coaching clients have the opportunity to go through her exclusive Schedule Makeover™ life transformation process through phone coaching and custom action guides or in-person training.
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