From chaos to clarity: why planning shouldn’t be the first thing to go during crunch time

December 11, 2017


Why is it when crunch times are upon us, the first place we 'find time' is in planning? We say, ‘let’s simply reduce planning time and get straight to ‘doing’’.




This is just like saying to your child or partner, ’I don’t have time to listen to you, honey’ when it’s the one thing you should do in that moment. It’s the classic quadrant II activity from Dr Covey’s important/urgent framework[1]: do the important things now (quadrant II), to prevent them from becoming urgent (quadrant I) later.


If you find yourself putting out fires all the time - dealing with things that are both important and urgent - what Dr Covey has identified and proven with solid research, is that if you spend more time in quadrant II, you’ll have less fires.



Consider this: 


Scenario 1: No planning                                                        Scenario 2: With Planning


Reactive: loss of control                                                        Proactive: ‘in control’

Execution is compromised                                                    Confident execution

Delivery comes down to chance                                           Delivery is assured: your focus is

leading to


             CHAOS                                                                                                    CLARITY                      



Which do you prefer?



Crunch time keys

•   Planning provides clarity and prevents chaos.

•   Planning needs planning, otherwise it loses its potency and becomes inefficient and ineffective.

•   Having a plan isn’t the same as planning: planning is a collaborative activity


Planning is a critical step during crunch times. It’s what sets you up to deliver to deadlines without killing your people.




About Alena: Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people. She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on



[1] Dr Stephen R Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p151


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