When The Plan Becomes The Problem

I have a problem.

I’ve come to recognize that my greatest strength is also my biggest weakness and I am suffocating under its weight.

I think too much.

My excessive thinking is getting in my way, and I need my mind to take several seats so I can grab the wheel and put the damn gear in DRIVE.

I like to plan. I get an idea, and I plan its execution. I think about how it can connect to other ideas and people, and causes greater than itself, and its legacy, and its color scheme, and its location, and its target demographic, etc. I talk about it and get people to rally behind. I make it a binder, with dividers, and sheet protectors, and a cover page to slide in the little transparent front insert and the little side insert. And I plan on top of those plans, and flesh out grander schemes of my initial points.

Nobody is going to tell me that’s my problem. Planning is a good thing, and I’m very thorough. What’s bad is to be impulsive and to act before thinking.

But actually, I don’t know which is worse. I kind of envy the other extreme. At least they’re doing something.


That’s the problem with planning, with thinking. When does it turn into action? Will it ever?

It doesn’t have to…

And I have found myself here, at this point, where planning has become paralyzing.

It’s a rut.

I’ve been in a rut.

The sinister thing about this kind of rut is that you’re encouraged to stay there. It’s a mirage of getting your shit together. It’s a mirage of having a good outlook and direction. You have a plan! So you’re clearly going somewhere, right?


Planning is a convenient escape from the responsibilities of actually getting to where you want to go. You can justify this escape because you always appear to be doing something. You’re planning. That’s commendable. Psychologists have studied this topic. Just talking about your plan and getting praise for it boosts your self-identity as if you already achieved that goal. So you don’t work towards it anymore. Planning halts momentum.

So this is me saying I’m sick of not doing. I realize that I can’t plan away risk. I accept my planning as fuel for my fears of both failure and success. I’m going to think less and just do. I don’t want to always be on the way. I’m going to reach my goals. I am not SEPTA. I refuse to be SEPTA.

SEPTA slogan
A slogan as pathetic as it is brilliant.

PS, that picture ended up being a thumbnail for a YouTube video of “We’re Getting There (official music video)” by Michal Pearl Waldfogel. You should check it out and have a laugh, because it was a comical find.

2 Replies to “When The Plan Becomes The Problem”

  1. Hi Maya,
    Forgive me for the extended absence from your blog and from Plenty Cafe. I have been a bit
    under the weather and confined to home. Trying to catch up on your writing pieces and picked
    up again with “When the plan becomes the ptoblem” You haven’t missed a bear in my absence..
    Your writing continues to be vigorous, extremely thoughtful and flows so well. Your premis is
    stimulating and familiar to most of us.

    Planning as a substitute for actually “doing” is a marvelous universal. I engage in this form
    of procrastination often. All of your readers, I am sure, immediately identify with this all too
    human trait.- a trait that is for obvious reasons steeped in psychology analysis. You reference
    a human foible akin to “paralysis from analysis” is quite pertinent to entire argument/issue you
    are exploring in your essay.

    And your metaphor relating to SEPTA delights the mind and concludes your piece in
    a clever and literary manner. What I will offer you now is, of, course, my support and
    encouragement of your writing efforts. Continue on……………Please, so that your others
    readers and I can go on enjoying them. I will read soon read your most recent essay –
    looking forward to posting a comment. Hope now that I am back to talk to you face to face
    at Rittenhuse venue. Guessing you are still there…..?

    Hope to see you soon- Have missed you.




    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alex!!!

      I’ve missed you! Sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well, I hope you get better soon.
      Thanks for all of your words and encouragement. They help me fall into these ruts of planning as procrastination :) I am still in Center City, and recently got promoted as manager! Please visit, it would be nice to see you!


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