Beyond a certain period of planning, any additional planning is useless.
We know this but consistently get caught in the endless web of reading “How-To” articles and books by our favourite motivational Gurus, obsessing over white papers, listening incessantly to podcasts or any other resource that we believe will help us in our new venture.
Whiles we read, listen and study looking for the nuggets of wisdom that will provide us our breakthrough, we fall into the over planning loophole
We fall into this loophole because we live in denial and we know success in any venture is does not come easy. It requires hard work, discipline, studying the nuances and sustained focus over long stretches of time.
Subconsciously, knowledge of impending workloads and difficult tasks tricks us into further mental preparation which not checked, lead to long and incessant planning. This planning stage becomes the “Hibernation Zone” where we get hyperactive over our brilliant ideas.
“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd
The Need for Boundaries
The fear of the hard, gruesome work we know awaits us leads to action paralysis.
The difficulty in achieving our goals gets us back into planning as a sort of relief. We then tell ourselves, “tomorrow I’m going to start doing the actual work”.
When “tomorrow” comes, we need a little more planning before we start, and the cycle continues.
To salvage this challenge, there must be boundaries around our planning.
Planning is good, but planning at the expense of setting realistic achievable goals is wrong.
There has to be a conscious stop gap in place to drive us into action.
My approach to solving this issue is setting a time limit on the dedicated time for planning and plunging right into action after that.
In my notepad, I write sentences such as
Beyond 2 hours of planning on this marketing topic, I’ll start researching and writing this article I’ve been considering.
Beyond 2 months of reading about this business idea, I’ll mock up a website and beta test the idea.
Beyond 3 months of creating this course, I’ll roll it out to my mailing list to figure out whether there’s a general interest.
False Sense of Achievement
Continual, frenetic planning presents a false sense of achievement
This sense of achievement can be a disturbing blind spot and is a form of mental bias which leads to celebration although no work has been done.
I’ve on many occasions been a victim of this type of mindset.
Celebrating my “brilliant” business ideas and daydreaming of the returns I’ll be making in the future.
We all have that one friend who always has the next breakthrough business idea that will rival Apple, Netflix or Microsoft. Yet those plans never come to pass. (If you don’t know that person, you’re probably that person).
This reminds me of a story where a group of mice came together to plan a way to eliminate a cat that was terrorizing them.
At the meeting, many plans were shared on how this could be achieved.
A tiny mouse presented a plan of hanging a bell around the cat’s neck
“so that when the cat was approaching, we can hear the sound of the bell and attack it” The mouse Explained
This was a brilliant plan by all standards. The mice broke into fanatic dancing and jubilation.
After a few hours of merrymaking an elderly mouse said “This sounds like a great plan but who amongst us will volunteer to hand the bell around the cat”?
None responded and that is how that plan never came to pass.
Start Small, Give It Time
Behind the inaction is the fear of failure, the fear of hard work and the fear of people’s opinions.
Every lack of action has an underlying factor that is yet to be explored.
Take the smallest possible step to achieving your goals. Whiles at it, ease up on success metrics.
How many readers you have, how many buyers you have, who’s watching and what they’re saying should be handled with care or you’ll be discouraged.
The best you can do is to acknowledge those voices but not dwell on it and genuinely seek to make a contribution.
Seek to make a difference with your project, art, business, creativity etc.
Everything takes time. That is what a lot of us forget. Give it a year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years because It will take that long.
Expertise and craftsmanship is a slow painstaking process.
Let’s wean ourselves off over planning and start making the conscious effort to do more .
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