When Planning becomes Procrastination

lined notebook on table with fountain pen to illustrate when planning becomes procrastinationIn my professional life I have spent a lot of time encouraging people to plan more.  Planning is a good thing.  Planning helps you to set direction and to prioritise.  It simplifies decision making.  In teams, planning helps you to get everyone on the same page.  What could possibly go wrong?  Well, frankly, it all goes a little bit pear shaped when planning becomes procrastination.

Procrastination involves putting off or avoiding a task that needs to be done.  The problem is that it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that, by planning the task properly, we are actually taking steps towards doing it.

Take, for example, the teenager who spends days devising a comprehensive (and very beautiful) revision timetable, only to discover that there is no time left to revise.  Or the woman who repeatedly re-writes her to-do list, frantically adding last week’s unfinished actions to this week’s plan.  Or the mother, who sits amongst the ruins of her home reading books on how to de-clutter and create zen-like calm.  Meanwhile, the kids continue to wreak havoc all around her.

If you recognise any of this, then I hate to tell you, but you are most definitely procrastinating.

I am working with a super-organised client at the moment.  She recently started a new job and was finding it difficult to get her team to be more productive.  In an attempt to address the problem she introduced them to the Trello Board so that they could monitor the team objectives, see each other’s workload and keep tabs on shared projects.  Now she has a team that enthusiastically creates vibrant, informative Trello Boards.  But they still don’t get things done.  Instead of motivating them to take action, she has given them a new way to procrastinate.

It doesn’t matter how you plan.  Whether you use pen and paper, post-its, spreadsheets or bespoke software is irrelevant if you are still planning when you should be taking action.

When planning becomes procrastination it is time to stop thinking and start doing.

Please help me write about Women in Leadership

Women in leadership

When I first started writing a piece on leadership for this page I also started looking for images to accompany it. Oh my goodness – what a phenomenally male centric exercise that was!

I searched for “leadership” and “leaders” on a number of stock photo sites (and even on Google images) and I didn’t find a single site where women featured in more than 15% of the photos (yes I counted). On one site there were actually more images of birds than women – yup, ducks are apparently well known for their leadership ability. Where women did feature in photographs and clip-art they were invariably slim, white, dressed in dark suits and standing in very masculine poses (feet apart, hands on hips etc.).

Well, I have abandoned my original blog and now I want to write a different one instead but I will need your help.

I believe that women can make phenomenal leaders without compromising on what it means to be a woman. I know what makes a great leader, I have been training and coaching leaders for over 20 years and I have met some amazing (and not so amazing) male and female leaders across a range of sectors. But, just for now, I am very interested in what you think makes a great female leader. Of course we are generalising here but:

What do women leaders do every bit as well as men? What extra qualities do women bring to the mix that men don’t? Are there any aspects of leadership that you think women are less good at?

Please share your ideas, your views and your stories about great women leaders from any walk of life. You can use the comments space below or, if you are shy, feel free to direct message me. I promise to treat your words with respect and to turn them into a blog article (or 2) where we can all celebrate the wonderful diversity and effectiveness of women in leadership.

And if you are a photographer, get clicking! Stock photo sites need you! But, just for now, I went with the duck.