Planning is an essential part of our daily lives, from personal to professional. It’s very difficult to really do any vaguely complex set of actions without some level of planning. It helps us organize our thoughts, prioritise tasks, and set goals for the future.
However, all the planning in the world is meaningless if it does not lead to action. Planning is for doing.1
Let’s take a look at some of reasons why it’s crucial to keep this sharply in focus when we’re planning.
First and foremost, planning without action is just a waste of time. It’s essential to always keep in mind that planning is not an end in itself but a means to an end. The goal of planning is to create a roadmap that leads to the achievement of specific goals. If planning does not lead to action, then it equates to futility and fruitless effort.
Second, planning without action can lead to a false sense of accomplishment. When you plan and make lists, it can give you a feeling of satisfaction, as if you have done something productive. You can build a great system to capture all the stuff that needs doing, but if it doesn’t help you move to action then you fall for the trap of being busy but not productive.
Finally, planning without action can crush your confidence. When you repeatedly plan and never follow through, it can make you feel as if you are never going to get anywhere. Far from accomplishment, over a period this actually leads to frustration, a sense of overwhelm and often feeling like you’re going backwards.
So, how can you ensure that your planning leads to action? Here are a few tips:
- Make sure your goals are clear and specific. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve will help you prioritise your actions and keep you on track.
- Break your goals down into smaller, manageable tasks. This will make it easier to get started and stay motivated.
- Set a deadline for each task. Deadlines help to create a sense of urgency and accountability.
- Regularly review your progress. Checking in on your progress will help you stay motivated and make adjustments if necessary.
- Reward yourself for your progress. Celebrating your successes, no matter how small, will help keep you motivated.
- Remind yourself regularly that your planning system only needs to be big enough and sophisticated enough to help you get things done. No more than that. Anything more than that is unproductive procrastination.
Planning is important. We often need to do it to get a grip on all the myriad of actions that need to come together to create a desired output. But don’t lose sight of the key imperative that planning is only there for doing. If there’s no doing then the planning is not worth doing.
- Credit to Nicholas Broune for this pithy mantra – https://biggestfish.substack.com/p/planning-is-for-doing?s=r