You’ve probably heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” But there’s another trap that never gets as much shine … you can over-plan and end up getting absolutely nothing done.
Most of what we do in life follows the basic cycle of planning-execution-analysis. It doesn’t matter if you’re making a sandwich, developing an app or setting up your business. Without a plan, you won’t know where you’re going. Without execution, you won’t get anywhere. Without analysis, you can’t measure your success or get wiser for the future.
Of course, every task you take on for your business will be different. And the amount of time you spend on each phase of the cycle will change as you gain experience. Getting your workflow right is all about balancing between the 3 components of the cycle. But for now, let’s talk about planning.
When you’re first starting out in business or even a new project within an existing business that’s been in existence for a while, the planning phase can present a trap you didn’t see coming. The overwhelming number of unknowns might leave you struggling to plan out every last detail, troubleshooting every conceivable angle and refining your idea over and over again until you feel like banging your head against a wall.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life as an entrepreneur, it’s that you will never see all the angles. You’ll never be able to account for all the mishaps. And most importantly, you don’t know what you don’t know!
Human beings learn best experientially which means we learn by doing … there’s a reason why they say experience is the best teacher.
So here’s how to keep it moving and not get swallowed up in endless planning:
• You need to assign a time limit to each task within the planning phase.
• Set a cut-off date for your planning process as a whole and when that date rolls around …
• Just start. Just do it. Execution is EVERYTHING.
Remember that the worst that could happen is usually not that bad. Unless you’re an aeronautical engineer or an ER surgeon, put that pen down and get to work! No one’s life is at stake here. The only thing that’s at stake is the precious time you could easily waste trying to figure things out that you can only learn from hands-on experience, oh and of course your sanity.
Once you become a more of a doer than a thinker, you’ll find that by working the plan you’ve got, the loopholes and miscalculations become apparent very quickly. They’ll throw you into the analysis phase, and give you more insight on how to plan and execute your next step.
Think of the cycle as the turning of a wheel. You have to let the wheel do its full loop so it can start rolling and move your vehicle forward. That forward motion will bring you new opportunities, it’ll bring new people along the path and more wisdom.
So even though you will be tempted to ‘think a plan to death,’ don’t!
Establish a planning cut-off time, jump into the unknown with what you’ve got and being open to learning fast. You’ll be back at that drawing board in no time for the next turn of the wheel anyway, except this time you’ll be more knowledgeable and better equipped with the distinct advantage that experience gives you!
Get Out There An Execute …