There is a huge chasm separating planning and doing, but most people don’t realize it’s there.
Doing feels like a natural outgrowth of planning. “First I’ll make a plan, then I’ll execute it. Simple.”
But anyone who’s worked on a big project knows that simple doesn’t mean easy. If asked, most of us could produce a long list of projects planned, begun, and abandoned.
For me, the script often looks like this (perhaps some of these steps look familiar to you):
- Come up with an idea
- Figure out the necessary steps to make it happen
- Put those steps in order
- Plan to do one step at a time (insert giant chasm here)
- Get nervous, thinking of everything that could go wrong.
- Doubt whether the idea is any good
- Get overwhelmed
- Start to procrastinate
- Get distracted by a new idea
Working in a group can help, but it can also hurt. Other people provide insight and accountability, but they can also create endless tweaking and polishing. The more people involved with a project, the more ideas for improvement there will be, and that’s a double-edged sword.
The moral of the story? When working on a project—whether painting a bedroom or restructuring an organization—remember this: Planning is necessary, but it’s not the hard part and it doesn’t count for anything. All that matters is what gets done. Focus your resources on the doing.