Planning or Doing?

I recently saw this quote from one of my favorite authors, bloggers, and thought leaders, James Clear: “Before you begin, think as if you are a lazy person. Imagine the competition will work harder. Your only chance is a better strategy. After you begin, work as if you are a dumb person. Imagine the competition is smarter and more talented. Your only chance is to outwork them.”

My clients, students, former co-workers, acquaintances, and poor wife hear me talk a lot about desired outcomes and next actions. What do you want to be true and what are you doing to move toward that? This is the core of what Mr. Clear is saying, but it made me think, can one exist effectively without the other?

I’m willing to bet you have a strategic plan sitting on a shelf somewhere (these days it’s a digital shelf!). A lot of time and work probably went into creating that plan. Maybe at a retreat, maybe over several intense days, or maybe over weeks and months of planning. And there the results are, out of sight and out of mind.

Why? Because planning is not doing. Planning can look like doing. It can fool us and help us procrastinate but still feel productive. But planning alone doesn’t achieve results. Only doing does.

Just doing things may achieve results, but will those results actually matter? The only way to make sure doingis achieving meaningful results is by making sure it’s directed toward some end, or…wait for it…outcome. Those outcomes are established in the planning process.

Bottom line: I don’t see how you can have one and not the other. You can’t skip one; you can’t only plan or onlyact. You’re rudderless without both. Ask yourself which one needs more attention from you today, or this week/month, or more habitually. Shift your focus and see if that changes your results.

And remember, it’s a balance, so be sure to re-evaluate frequently.


Need help planning…or doing? We can help.


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Craig A. Escamilla
Craig A. Escamilla
Craig Escamilla helps you find solutions before problems exist. With fifteen years of consulting, teaching, and senior management experience, Craig brings a wealth of practical expertise to helping others work on rather than in their businesses.

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