Doing Versus Planning

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.

Henry Ford

I have a friend who is always making plans. He will always update me on what he’s got coming up or a new idea. He also explains to me about if this or that happens then they can finally get to where they feel they need to be. They are always in this perpetual waiting period.

Plans are always being made.

Planning

Planning is a wonderful thing. Without proper planning D- Day wouldn’t have been a success, Space X wouldn’t be at the ISS, and my son wouldn’t make it to practice most evenings.

Let me be clear that proper planning is crucial, especially for complex tasks, projects, and processes. Things like schedules, products, equipment, and inventory need planning. If I didn’t plan projects as a Team Chief in the Air Force I’d be in some deep doo doo.

But when it comes to our every day lives, is too much planning a hindrance? Is planning for planning’s sake a waste of time? Do we need that kick in the rear to put those plans in motion?

Doing

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

John Lennon

With the endless supply of scheduling tools, planners, and self-help books about processes, it’s no wonder little actually gets done.

There will be a point at which the plans are made — they are done. It will be time to put them into action. We must “do.”

You see, for some (myself included) there is comfort in planning. If we continue to fine tune our plans, always seeking endless improvement in those plans we will never have to take responsibility in our actions. If our attempts fail, we will never have to know. We are too busy planning, perfecting, and planning some more.

Taking action is almost always a better choice than waiting for our plans to be polished. Shipped is better than perfect.

Additionally, as we take action plans oftentimes will have to change. Unforeseen circumstances, roadblocks, and other challenges may arise without much warning. We need to remain flexible and willing to adapt as we act. The “perfect plan” will never remain perfect or foolproof.

Go

Plan, yes. Then act. Put a plan together, make sure you address everything you can and then put that rudimentary, simple plan into action. You are guaranteed to pause, reevaluate your plans, adjust, then act again. You may go through this cycle several times before you reach your goal, but the important thing is to keep moving forward with action.

The Wright brothers took this principle to heart. They would plan a flight and then attempt a test. After they failed they adjusted and tested again. They tested and failed over and over again until they succeeded. The bigger corporate companies would hire the best engineers and spend enormous amounts of time designing and planning without much action.

Action, even resulting in failure, will still move us forward. Plan, act, and repeat and you will be much better off in the long run.

Oh, and about my friend; he’s probably still planning.

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2 thoughts on “Doing Versus Planning

  1. Hey, great thoughts!

    “Proper planning prevents poor performance.”

    I think a good distinction could help: Planning versus Preparing.

    Planning is mental action.
    Preparing is physical action.

    First, you make a plan in your mind.
    Next, you prepare it in real life.

    Planning is pondering and plotting potential…
    Preparing is putting power to those plans.

    Separating the two actions yields bad results.
    Plan but don’t prepare? Nothing happens!
    Prepare but don’t plan? Nothing good happens!

    Anyways, that’s oversimplified, but it’s a start. Just thinking.

    I plan to buy a planner and start planning someday.😜
    Buying the planner would be a physical act of preparation.

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