Is planning and perfectionism getting in your way?

I remember years ago, I had this idea for a web app. I sat down, did some sketches for it. It felt great! Until I started breaking things down.

Thinking of the different components. Thinking of the data structures. Breaking down the different user stories, the user levels, the access rights.

It was all going well, until I had so much information that it all just felt too much. It was overwhelming. Have you been there?

The weight of the work felt colossal, I was lost. I knew that there were still so many different details that were missing.

I no longer wanted to do this. It was too scary!

Plan for the purpose of clarity

Planning has its place. But keep it to a minimum. Here is a framework that I like to use:

  • What am I building?
  • What are the top level milestones?
  • What’s my next step?

Get onto the next step as quickly as you can, before it all gets too overwhelming.

Figure out the next step and start executing before it all gets too much. Don’t wait for all the data. The data emerges as part of your thinking process not as part of your research process.

Each step reveals the next step. Keep in mind of where you are heading though.


This is a trap that we can often fall into. You see, when I started doing these interviews my mind told me – do a few 20, 50 and then see the patterns. Then you can start writing.

Perfectionism at its glory! The problem is that I didn’t see it. Until one of you challenged it. They could clearly see it. That is what I love about the coaching process. The ability to see the biases of others. The ones that we are unable to see. And then to challenge them.

The truth is the sooner I start writing the easier it will be. If I email you in a years time with ALL the data and my insights, it will probably not matter to you anymore.

What can you do about it?

Before you close this email and move to the next thing. Spend 2 minutes to reflect.

  • Where in your business or in your life do you let perfectionism keep you back?
  • Where do you over plan?
  • If you could only do one thing, what would it be?

Get clear by eliminating and then act!