Finding the balance between processing and doing

Photo courtesy of zlady (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of zlady (Creative Commons)

Do you ever launch into “DO” mode so fast that you neglect to plan and process first?

I’ve found myself doing that a lot lately – there’s so much on my list to get accomplished, so many people clamoring for me to produce results – that I just hit the ground running. I feel like I’m swinging a machete through the field, whacking down the weeds and marching along, checking things off my list.

But often, I end up having to backtrack because I got too far ahead of myself and went the wrong direction. That wastes time, frustrates everyone involved, and can lead to poor attitudes all around.

It’s like placing that supply order only to realize that I didn’t do a thorough check to see everything we needed and have to place another one. Sometimes I end up setting up a meeting on the fly but neglect to check my calendar first, only to realize I have double booked myself.

I function best when I slow down and take a little time to process so I attack with the right plan. That way I can think through all the issues and not overlook the ramifications of my actions.

For me, processing involves writing, diagramming, and making lists. For others, it might include a mind map, talking with a team, or physically walking through the plan. Whatever the processing looks like, it’s important to include that step so that your actions are more targeted.

I am so much more productive when I pause to process before my actions. Then I can go full speed ahead to crank out that work and feel confident that I’m doing the right things in the best order.

How do you find a balance between processing and doing?