Do! Stop thinking and planning.

Let's start with the basic fact that the real world is more practical than the theoretical nature of planning and thinking. If you want to test out the ideas you have, put them out in the world. If you want to actually accomplish something, don't spend time planning it, do it. Read on if you have time.

Four years ago, I decided I wanted to start blogging. Blogging was probably more common at the time, so it was a "cool" thing to blog. I also thought of it as a means of growing and eliciting some sort of feedback that I could use to improve at the time. So, I made a resolution (in my mind) to start writing blogs. That was was four years ago...I started blogging late last year. Why did it take me that long to start blogging (consistently)? I mean, after all, it's just a blog post that no one, or maybe one or two people might accidentally stumble upon, right?

Right. I must have subconsciously thought to myself: first, blogging takes too much time and thought. Second, blogging is about putting "stuff" out there, sharing content, knowledge, etc. Putting stuff out there involves some sort of risk. Risk is uncertain. Uncertainty is scary. Scary is not good. When you put yourself, your work, thoughts, ideas out in the world, you run the risk of sounding stupid. You might be wrong. You might receive no feedback. You might ____________(fill in the blank). Now you see why it took me this long to start blogging. I probably was subconsciously scared and probably made excuses (e.g. I'm too busy).

The moral of the story is: do! Stop thinking and planning and just do! 

The real world is practical; unlike the theoretical nature of planning and thinking. When you do, you test "something" out in the real world. That's why doing is hard. It's much harder than thinking. Doing takes work. Doing takes risk. Doing can lead to failure. Doing puts you out there. Doing puts pressure on you. Doing produces more observable results than our thoughts do.

I will share a personal story. If you are a designer, read on (if you have time). 

I am working on a couple of projects in topics that I don't have much knowledge about. But I am interested in learning, understanding, and hopefully designing solutions for these topic areas. For help, I consulted Dr. Erik Stolterman. Among all the insights Dr. Stolterman brought up, he completely answered dozens of questions I had with one short statement he made. That statement cleared up all confusion and worry I had created in my head, and gave me clarity of actionable next steps for progress.

Dr. Stolterman mentioned, "...thinking is doing when it comes to design..."

In other words, do and base your thinking on the results of your doing. Don't waste your time in thought after thought, plan after plan, meeting after meeting. It's only when you do that you get results. 

Okay, okay, okay, We get it. Common sense. Nothing special. Nothing amazing. Not really inspiring. I already knew that. Maybe not?

With the projects I am working on, I did have a good plan of what I wanted to do. I had a good idea--at least it was great in thought and on paper. The problem is that it was still in my head. Not only that, I also had this awful plan to read more, research more, and read some more, and try to "understand" more. Sounds familiar? How often do we get caught up in planning, meeting, researching, talking, making empty promises, having good intentions, only to have either nothing to show for it or empty and meaningless rationales for what we have to show.

To conclude: if you are a designer/developer/doer and want to get things done, then DO. Do prototype. Do build. Plan based on the results of doing, then iterate. The basic point is that if you want results, move from planning to doing; and the sooner you start doing, the better.