Posts tagged: Ad Libber

How to start planning when you’d really rather not

October 29, 2015

What’s the plan?

Well, if you tend to get stuck acting like an Ad Libber, there isn’t one. That’s because, more often than not, things work out for you on the fly. You rely on luck, a quick mind, and the fearlessness to wing it. With minimal effort the world usually works in your favor.

Until it doesn’t. Until that luck you count on stops meaning off-the-cuff charmer and starts requiring a fully prepared person.

Yes, planning is hard. There’s a whole bunch of career disciplines devoted to it, for Pete’s sake. But, on occasion, even the most brilliant of us need to chart out a course before diving in.

Fortunately, not all planning requires spreadsheets and Roman numerals and gobs of research. When your back is against the wall, start by identifying your planning kryptonite — what is it that makes you so adverse to it?

It just so happens that Unstuck’s
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Rocky: Rocky Balboa gets unstuck as an Ad Libber

June 19, 2014

His stuck moment: Rocky Balboa is a small-time boxer and loan collector, struggling to make ends meet and maintain his dignity, in spite of his dead-end prospects.

He comes up with a game plan: When Rocky is asked to fight heavyweight boxing champion Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, he sees a chance to go from “nobody” to “somebody.” He commits to a daily training plan, including 4 a.m. runs, lots of raw eggs, and hundreds of flights of stairs.

Unstuck result: Rocky knocks Creed down in the first round, and the crowd goes wild. He goes all 15 rounds, only losing on a technicality — proving that he’s someone to take
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Question: Is it ever okay to work without a plan?

April 10, 2014

For the organized among us, this question is a nonstarter. For the rest, we bet lots of reasons come to mind, like: I don’t want to stifle creativity. It will make an easy project harder. Nobody pays attention to the plan anyway. Underneath those reasons lurk the real reasons: What if my plan doesn’t work? I don’t think that way. Planning is hard.

To those real reasons we say: A plan helps you stay on track, and helps you know when you’re not. It doesn’t have to be complicated or follow someone else’s overthought format. And it should never be carved in stone.

You can make a real plan, with dates and everything, in about five minutes using Unstuck’s “Get Your Game On” tool. If you’re on your iPad, click to go directly to the tool (this won’t work if you’re using Unstuck on the web). Or download the free Unstuck
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Unstuck in Action: Just the right kick in the pants

March 7, 2013

Name:  Brian O’Donnell

Age:  39

Location: New York City

Occupation: Electronic musician, engineer, producer. “Since I was a teen, I’ve been working in music, so I’ve been in the industry for almost 20 years. I’ve produced everything from heavy rock to teen princess pop. I do music full time and I also teach Bikram yoga part time.”

What are you working on now?“My current album is an electronic dance album. I write the music, perform all instruments, vocals, produce, engineer — I do everything. This is my first under the name ‘Fits of Genius.’

“The first track is titled ‘Say’ and is available via for free. The track is also available on iTunes and Amazon as well a deluxe version on the website.”

How did you hear about the Unstuck app?“One of my best friends in the world noticed I was looking for clarity on how to finish a project and passed it on
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Unstuck in Action: Practicing mindful productivity

February 7, 2013

Name: Mike Vardy

Age:  38

Location:  Victoria, BC, Canada

Occupation:  Writer, talker, and productivityist. Recently published “The Front Nine: How To Start The Year You Want Anytime You Want”

 What is a productivityist?“It’s a person who is a productivity enthusiast. It kind of started out as a joke. I was doing sketch comedy, holding a job at Costco as a department supervisor, and had a family. Trying to manage all of my time, I needed to adopt some systems. But I found that I didn’t get anymore productive, I just learned about more and more systems. So I started to parody productivity the way Stephen Colbert parodies politics. The site got noticed by David Allen [author of “Getting Things Done”] and I asked him to write for it. Soon after, I got really into the topic and became the very thing I was making fun of. At that point, was
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How we get stuck acting like an Ad Libber

January 13, 2013

You see things. Good things. Far-flung, unthought-of things with a clarity that others marvel at. Some may call it visionary or creative or even genius. Whatever you name it, your ideas help push the world forward in big and small ways. Thank you.

But, as big-idea man Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.” And perspiration takes some planning.

All of us get caught once in a while without a plan; some, however, tend to skate above the details more often, and that’s when we can get stuck acting like an Ad Libber.

Maybe you find planning dreary. Or your brain is hard-wired to think expansively, rather than practically. There are a bunch of reasons Ad Libbers prefer to wing it, despite knowing that their odds of succeeding lessen.

At Unstuck we believe that even a modicum of organizing can help push past this type of stuck moment.
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5 exhilarating benefits of making even the tiniest plan

January 13, 2013

Whatever side of the fence you sit on, it’s easy to agree that there are planners and non-planners. Simple as that, right? Well, maybe…

Let’s start with reasons people don’t plan. Do you relate to any of these statements?

I’m not good at it because…

• “I’m spontaneous. I can’t be hemmed in like that.”

• “My mind doesn’t work that way.”

• “I’m a big picture thinker, other people are the doers.”

I get bored because…

• “It’s not fun.”

• “My eyes cross when I have to look at grids, charts, and lots of numbers.”

I’m afraid that…

• “I’ll lose momentum.”

• “It will squash my creativity.”

• “My plan won’t work.”

I don’t have time because…

• “I need to do something else that’s urgent.”

• “I don’t have the right tools or information.”

The more you declare any of these justifications, the more truthful they become in your mind. But, if deep down you’d like to stop operating on a
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Planning for the non-planner

January 13, 2013

Ad Libbers, also known as people who prefer not to plan, are a lovably determined lot. And fearless, in a way, for looking a project in the eye and believing that they’ll succeed by figuring out it as they go.

But it’s easy to change your non-planner ways and remain the creative big thinker you’ve always been.

First, recognize that planning doesn’t have to be hard or complicated or overly fussy.

Second, know that plans can change. If you need to alter a task or timeline down the road, you can.

Third, it shouldn’t cost money. You won’t need all sorts of tools; paper and pencil will do just fine.

Once you’re comfortably settled into these three principles, you will need to find a system that works for you. And by system it could be as simple as Post-It notes that you gleefully rip off the wall each time something is completed. Or
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Are you stuck without a plan?

January 17, 2012

Not having enough time is a favorite topic to grouse about, no doubt, but it’s also an ingredient for greatness? Mr. Bernstein, who knew a thing or two about timing, was definitely onto something. What’s intriguing about his recipe for success is that it calls for two items that are accessible to all of us. While time isn’t entirely in our control, we can use it to maintain momentum. The plan, however, is completely under our jurisdiction. But when you’re stuck as an Ad Libber, the ways and means aren’t always held in high esteem. To see how beautiful a plan can be, check out Unstuck Tip #23. And when you’re ready to plot your own strategy, tap our “Get Your Game On” tool in the Unstuck
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Jamie Oliver’s Stuck Moment as an Ad Libber

October 18, 2011

His stuck moment: In the second season of his reality show “Food Revolution,”  Oliver aimed to revamp school lunches in Los Angeles, but the city revoked the permits necessary to film in its schools. 

He comes up with a game plan: Oliver invited students and parents to bring cafeteria food to his test kitchen. While there, he demonstrated how much sugar is added to the school’s milk every week by filling an L.A. school bus with 57 tons of white sand.

Unstuck result: The school system banned chocolate- and strawberry-flavored milk from their lunchrooms. 

(All information comes from public sources and does not imply endorsement of
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