Overplanning or Just Planning Insanity?

by | Apr 12, 2012 | 4 comments

The other day Lea told me I needed a planning intervention. She told me that since I had moved to a new method of managing my time and my projects, I was really busy planning, but getting a lot less done! WOW! That stings! Especially since I had invested a lot of time, energy, and money in the new planning method.

Overplanning is like chasing your tail

Are you planning insane?

Here is a test!

1. Do you spend more time planning than doing?

2. Do you have lists of things to do all over your desk, car, IPOD, etc?

3. Do you find it frustrating that you have a ton more ideas than time or people to do them?

4. Do you have trouble answering the question “What did you do today?”

5. Do you constantly rethink your decisions wondering if they meet the long term goal?

6. Do you constantly come up with a new long-term goal?

7. Do you change plans for you and your team before they start to implement the last plans?

If the answer to most of these is YES, you may need a planning intervention for your overplanning personality! I will join you!

Reality Check

There is a fine line between too much and too little planning. Too little costs time and money. Too many costs, well, time and money. But then there is obsessive planning. How can you tell how much planning is enough? Here are my rules-of-thumb (which I just found in all my lists of plans!).

Planning time should be proportional to the amount risk. This includes risk to life and limb as well as financial risk. A lot more planning should go into a bridge over a river as opposed to a software app that allows me to track the number of sit-ups someone does.

If you find you have more plans than action, perhaps you need your OWN intervention.


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Dale Callahan

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  1. Cassidy Cash

    Well, what was your intervention? I definitely fall into this category of an over-planner, but what is the solution? I mean, I feel like if I don’t plan then I still end up wasting time because I’m not moving forward in defined steps. You know? Like a Dave Ramsey Baby Steps plan for finances. If I don’t have those “ok, now do this one thing next” then the large picture overwhelms me. I have to eat the elephant in bites. But how do I keep from taking teeny tiny bites when a good ol’ chomp will do? Basically: I agree with your opinions here whole heartedly and I think you’ve identified a problem I certainly have, but what are your suggestions (or experiences) for what to do about it?

  2. Denise

    The trick is to know when to execute. Planning without execution is dreaming.

  3. Dale

    I think a LOT of people have this. Either no plan, or all plan. Baby steps is a GREAT example. Simple steps! SIMPLE STEPS. I find a lot of people get complicated in things – spreadsheets and complex processes. (A lot of people — I mean me)

    You have to know where you are going, what the key things to do are, and do them. Once you know them, do it.

    Great example is in marketing plans. People plan and plan and plan – but until you start talking to customers – nothing happens. Great plans does not make great execution.

    I think some of my next posts will be related because this seems to be a common issue.

    But in the end – action trumps everything.

  4. Dale

    Delicate balance it is!

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