Plan Then Do

Jack Vinson, who writes about project management (among other things) shares something he often sees in his work:  a failure to separate planning from doing.

I see a familiar theme come up over and over again.  People have a difficult time separating the creation of an idea from starting to work on that idea.

Why does this matter?  It’s the classic vicious cycle for projects: Get an idea. Start doing something about it. Realize you are missing some pieces. Go retrieve the missing elements. Start going again. Get stuck again. Start again. Stop. Start. Stop. Start.  

And of course, while you are “stuck,” you don’t just sit there. You pick up one of those other great ideas and start marching along until it gets stuck. And again. And again.

Sound familiar, lawyers?  Next time a client dumps a hot, gotta-be-done-by-tomorrow matter on your desk, ask yourself if you’ll have time to plan your attack?  If not, you’ll likely get stuck in Jack’s start/stuck/stop/start-over cycle.

Give yourself time — if only a day — to separate the “plan” from the “do.”  They are not one in the same and when you treat them as such, you and your clients will likely suffer.

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