[caption id=“attachment_1757” align=“aligncenter” width=“1024”]wheeler peak in new mexico Near the summit of Wheeler Peak, NM[/caption] There is a huge chasm separating planning and doing, but most people don’t realize it’s there.

Doing feels like a natural outgrowth of planning. “First I’ll make a plan, then I’ll execute it. Simple.”

But anyone who’s worked on a big project knows that simple doesn’t mean easy. If asked, most of us could produce a long list of projects planned, begun, and abandoned.

For me, the script often looks like this (perhaps some of these steps look familiar to you):

  1. Come up with an idea
  2. Figure out the necessary steps to make it happen
  3. Put those steps in order
  4. Plan to do one step at a time (insert giant chasm here)
  5. Get nervous, thinking of everything that could go wrong.
  6. Doubt whether the idea is any good
  7. Get overwhelmed
  8. Start to procrastinate
  9. Stall
  10. Get distracted by a new idea

Working in a group can help, but it can also hurt. Other people provide insight and accountability, but they can also create endless tweaking and polishing. The more people involved with a project, the more ideas for improvement there will be, and that’s a double-edged sword.

The moral of the story? When working on a project—whether painting a bedroom or restructuring an organization—remember this: Planning is necessary, but it’s not the hard part and it doesn’t count for anything. All that matters is what gets done. Focus your resources on the doing.