There’s a saying that ‘vision without action is merely a dream’ and I completely agree. However, based on my experiences currently I can tell you that action without vision or a plan is a nightmare. You just end up running around doing stuff stressed that you may not achieve your goals. So when is the right time to act and how do you know? Here are 3 tips to help you decide whether you should be acting, reflecting or planning.
Is the goal clear?
Are you clear what your goal is? To be able to tell whether you are taking the right action, you need to have a clear goal or objective. Otherwise, you could be taking action that will actually take you away from where you want to be. Or just taking action for the sake of it.
The client I’m currently helping is used to just spin off lots of activity in the hope that something will land right. Little time is spent on quality or thinking how to get quality, it’s all about quantity.
Sometimes the incessant activity does yield good results but more often than not, it creates stress as we try to deliver lots of stuff with limited resources. It’s demotivating too because there is no clear link between success and the activity.
Are you spinning your wheels in the hope that you will get what you want or do you have a clear goal and plan?
Do you know how you’ll get there and what you’ll need?
I’m also currently trying to help a team achieve a goal at work. The problem is everyone wants to take action but nobody is spending any time working out whether they have enough resources to meet the deadline that has been set. There is no clear plan on how we’ll get from A to Z and what it’s going to take to get there.
I can see a disaster waiting to happen and a lot of pressure being put on the people doing the work on this project.
If you take action without having spent the time working out what you need, there is no way you can guarantee that you will meet your deadlines. Things take the time they take. If you’re trying to take a week to do something that should take two weeks, you only have two options: you simplify what you’re trying to do and you reduce the amount of work needed or you get more people to help you.
So before you take action and squander your time, energy and resources, spend some time planning.
Do you know what is going to trip you up?
Your goals are SMART, you have a realistic plan and you have the resources you need to make it happen. I would say you are in a very good position to start taking action. But before you do…
Are you clear what is going to trip you up? If you aren’t’ it would be good to start thinking about the challenges you may face along the way.
What if you’ve underestimated the amount of money you need? What if you don’t find the time to do everything you’ve planned? What if you get frightened or demotivated? What if?
Thinking about what can go wrong may seem counterproductive when we’re excited about a goal but it’s necessary. I can guarantee that you will meet some obstacles along the way. That’s a promise. They may not be the ones you’ve thought about but getting into the habit of seeing issues before they occur and addressing them will help ensure that the act you take is the right one.
Do you need to slow down and plan more or are you ready to take action?