I’m not sure where this comes from, but in some kind of strange way we’re always looking for an out when it comes to hard, difficult work. One of the things I see and experience myself is the tendency to replace acting with talking. This also goes for simple things like this: how many times have you replied to someone requesting a meeting with “sure, which days are appropriate for you?” instead of taking a couple of minutes to propose some dates, times and suggest a location?

Why would that be? Talking about a plan feels productive, and so does replying to an email like the one above.

Reply, archive, move on.

Without actually accomplishing something. You’re moving the box.

Sure, with the right people, talking over stuff could actually lead to new insight. It is not always a waste of time. I’m not encouraging you to not think through complex problems. I’m just wondering: what would you need to be more empowered to act? A different role? More knowledge? Confirmation from your peers, your manager, your client?

Try to figure out why you’re responding the way you do. Try to really know why you want to talk stuff over. Is it really needed? Or are you afraid to get started?