I’m not usually a proponent of going at things without a solid plan in place, but sometimes taking the opposite approach can be the best thing for you. While this isn’t something I recommend you do often, there are some specific times when I find it necessary to “get out of your head” and just “Do.”
When your plans start to get too detailed, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re grasping for things to do just for the sake of completion. You may need to get back into the areas where the action happens in your work or life, and then come back to the planning phase. I find this happens to me when I go for a period of time without working, such as when I take a vacation, or when I spend the vast majority of my time working in only one phase of the business. For some people, this may be fine to do, but for an operator; this can be a death sentence. Putting too much emphasis one just one segment of the business can cripple you in others, while also taking away any ability for the leaders of that segment to make decisions. If you find yourself doing this, you should find the self-awareness to go spend time elsewhere. Before you know it, you will start to feel what it is that you’ve been missing.
If you find yourself focused on things that would typically be considered the responsibility of those who work for you, you may be in this mode of “over-planning.” It sort of sneaks up on you, and it’s hard to realize when you’re doing it without some type of reminder system to keep yourself aligned on the right things. My weekly review allows me to do this, and without it I would probably find myself off on tangents for weeks at a time.
For someone like me, the hardest thing to do is to just “do.” I am so calculated that I almost never do anything I haven’t previously decided to do, with the exception of things that just cannot be planned for. To just put my notebook aside for the day and just see what happens is a lot harder for me to do than it is for others. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that some of the best ideas you come up with occur to you after you force yourself to get into the action and observe for a few days or a week.
This is something I don’t do nearly as often as I should, but something I’ve gotten better at valuing over the past few years. Although I’m more calculated now than I have been at any other stage of my life and career, I’m also more cognizant of the value I get from turning that part of me off from time to time, even if just for a day or so every quarter; that’s all it takes for me to get my creative juices flowing.
If you haven’t tried this, don’t wait until you find yourself in “leader’s block.” Once you feel that your creativity is waning, go spend a few days with your employees and your customers with the sole purpose of just observing and engaging with the people who give you the ability to live the life you live. You would be amazed at how many things you can watch, but not truly see, when you’re too focused one thing to observe and see the many other things available to you.