Preparation or Execution, Which One Should You Choose?

To prepare, or to execute, that is the question.

Ideally, you want both of course: preparation AND execution. You “plan your work and work your plan”. You prepare what you need to execute and you execute on what you’ve prepared.

However, keeping the right balance between preparation and execution can be challenging. At one extreme, you prepare and never execute; at the other, you execute with no preparation.

There’s a time to prepare and there’s time to execute. But navigating from one to the other takes skill.

Procrastination Loves Preparation

Many get stuck in the “preparation phase” and never move to the “execution phase”. But “execution” is the name of the game. Getting lost in the meanders of preparation is easy, even tempting. But results lay in the land of execution. Results are in “doing”.

Preparation often becomes a facade for procrastination: an alibi to avoid doing the work.

Some people avoid execution like mosquitoes avoid winter.

They prepare all their ingredients, but never cook the meal; they keep examining the vegetables and washing their utensils but fail to get cooking.

They assemble wood, nails, and other materials but don’t even build a shack.

They outline the book but don’t even write enough words to publish a blog post.

They buy expensive sneakers, nice sweatpants, and colorful headbands, but never hit the gym.

They’re stuck in the preparation stage.

All their wonderful plans serve no purpose because these plans aren’t acted upon. These plans might as well be used as table napkins.

Execution Is the Solution

As I said, ideally, you want both: preparation and execution. But if you must err on one side, err on the side of “execution”. Never let preparation hinder execution.

The purpose of the preparation phase is to facilitate the execution phase. Preparation finds its meaning in execution. No execution, no need for preparation.

Execution without preparation is risky, even reckless. However, execution without preparation may still yield favorable results. But without execution, preparation is useless.

For most, “doctor’s” orders are: overindulge in execution. And if your paralysis is extreme—as in you’re in a fierce battle with procrastination and preparation is your excuse of choice—”execution without preparation”, dare I say, might be your cure; eliminating “preparation” eradicates the excuse.

If you’re a fancy planner but a lousy “doer”, there’s little hope that you’ll get any results. Unless…

“Delegation” Is an Option

If preparation is your thing, as in you’re the “king” of preparation, but you can’t execute even if chased by a hoard of hungry wolves, you would be wise to “tag team” with someone who excels in execution. You prepare; they execute. And you both win.

To achieve results, someone must execute, and that someone can often be someone else. Thus, delegation is an option.

You can plan the work and have someone else work the plan. In fact, in many instances, that’s exactly what you should do. For instance, in my home, my wife makes the grocery list and sends me to get groceries. She plans; I execute. And we both win.

Remember this tough: you can’t delegate your push-ups and expect to build muscle. You can’t delegate everything. Some things, you just got to get done yourself.

You. Must. Execute.