In business, successful knowledge workers will take time to think before rushing into doing. The best-of-the-best  will sketch out a plan, a rough plan if the task or project is short and obvious, or, if the task or project is complex,  a detailed plan with all the key success factors carefully documented including timelines, resources, and key impacts to important stakeholders.

Building complex plans can be time consuming. There is an art to knowing how much time to set aside to the task of planning verses getting on with it and doing. An effective knowledge worker balances time required to plan with time needed to act and do. When too much time is devoted to planning that it overlaps with time that should have been committed to doing, stress levels rise and mistakes happen. Great plans may fail simply because too much time went to planning and not enough time was left to getting the job done.

Thinking through a plan before rushing into a task or project helps to contain rash decisions and helps to establish early mile markers and roadmaps. It also provides a useful scorecard against which outcomes can be measured without letting emotions interfere. A plan serves many masters, especially those stakeholders to whom you must communicate or who you must influence in order to obtain resources such as new capital budgets or the addition of talent to your team.

Plan it BEFORE you do it.