Work can be divided into ‘planning’ versus ‘implementation’. There are mindsets and patterns that go with each one. The quickest way I’ve found to sit around all day getting nothing done is to mistake the processes and mindset of one type of work for the other.

In the planning mind, the possibilities are endless. We can think things through forever. There are a million variables that can be tweaked. And, of course, everything will work out perfectly in the planning stage. If we’re diligent, we’ll work out what we need to do and have a plan we feel good about.

In the implementation phase, we grab our keyboard, pick axe or hammer, and get to work. If our plan is a good one, and luck comes our way, we can do the job to completion without much issue. If the plan is bad or we’re just unlucky, we get stuck, or the results don’t pan out.

My biggest mistakes happen when I don’t adequately distinguish between the two. Very commonly, I’ll sit down to plan out some work in the morning, and the time starts to pass quickly, and a slight panic sets in. Then I decide I’ll just get started. The implementation takes over before the plan is set. And then it never works out the way I’d like. Tasks are forgotten, or I don’t know how to do what I had in mind.

And then, I start planning again when I’m in the middle of implementing. This is even worse. Because when you’re in the middle of implementing, things are tricky and you need to push through the hard parts. But if you’re tempted to go back to planning, you’ll subconsciously avoid all the hard stuff.

And then you’ve neither planned nor implemented. And you have to start over the next day. So, keep your phases separate.