We’ve all faced challenges when it comes to taking action or getting things done. Often, we’re so worried about all of the distractions around us, we neglect to take action on a task or initiative out of fear we’re going to be “too busy” to get it done. Why start something if we can’t finish it, right? If you’ve started a million and one tasks and most of them never got completed, there’s a part of you that may be holding yourself back on starting new ones. You don’t want to disappoint yourself again. According to Tony Robbins, we don’t follow through because we weren’t passionate enough about the task or project. What about procrastination? You could argue that all of the above fall under procrastination, but sometimes we simply put things off, waiting for the right time. Keep waiting and you’ll find there’s never a right time. In addition, prioritizing often gets in the way. You may have something you want to get done, but there are probably several “priority” items on your “to do” list, so you put it off. Remember, business Success Starts with getting things done, so it’s time to take action.
I’ve faced every challenge listed above and I think most people have at some point in their lives, as well. When I’m struggling to take action, I leverage a few elements to get things done. Before I share the list, I want to provide some perspective. It’s vital that you become very self-analytical. Be honest with your own self-evaluation, since you can’t improve if you don’t know why you’re doing certain things. I am a very positive and optimistic person, but I’m also very self-critical. Someone else may be able to insult me or deflate me, but I know my strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else ever could. If you think everyone knows themselves that well, think again. Most people don’t put in the effort to really look deep into why they do certain things. For years I avoided it, living on autopilot. It took some personal life challenges for me to really go through the exercises. I encourage you to be your biggest critic. Doing so represents a huge growth opportunity, since only then can you begin to make major self-improvements.
The following is my list of ways I get things done:
• Goal Setting – Setting goals may be one of the most critical ways to get things done. Start by setting personal and professional goals, and then, follow up with timelines to achieve each. Next, document “how” you’re going to achieve those goals. The task you’re putting off may or may not directly be associated with your goals, but taking action here will help with the tasks you’re struggling to complete.
• Daily Planning – I have a daily plan which I use to schedule my day. I try and build a plan daily, but it doesn’t always happen. On the days where I don’t, I find myself less productive and often scattered. I find it works best to create my plan the night before. Unfortunately, with my busy schedule and two kids at home, it often gets moved to the following morning. It’s still effective, but I feel more rushed when I have to set up the plan as I’m starting my day.
• Long-term Planning – In addition to a daily plan, I have a yearly plan which I call a “living plan”. It’s “living” because it’s always changing and it’s one that I actually follow. I’ve built a 1 page business plan that is a roadmap and guide, along with a few supporting documents (mindmap, notes, action steps).
• 15 Minute Jump Start – If you’re putting off tasks or struggling to get things done, try what I call the 15-Minute Jump Start. Most people can do anything for 15 minutes, no matter how unpleasant. Agree to dedicate 15 minutes to a task and take some action. Just getting started is often the only catalyst you need to make real strides.
• 10-10-10 Rule – If it’s an important task, one that impacts your life and opportunities you may have, apply the 10-10-10 Rule. If you complete the task, where will you be in 10 days? What about 10 months? Or 10 years? Now take the contrast view and look at those same timelines if you don’t complete the task. If it’s an important task and you’re honest with yourself, you may just find the motivation you need.
• Accountability – Find someone you can confide in or use to hold you accountable. An advisor, mastermind groups, a spouse or some other person who understands what you’re trying accomplish and knows how to keep you on track, is critical to getting things done. If you don’t want to disappoint others or you don’t like to fail, share your plan and tell them you need to be held accountable. It’s amazing how impactful it can be to have others keeping you on point.
In the above list, goal setting is at the top of the list. That’s because I believe it’s one of the most important ways to start getting things done. Remember, a plan without goals is a road map to nowhere. From there, the rest of the elements will help you reach your ultimate destination. If you know what you want and you find a way to take action, you’re going to succeed. It’s really this simple, business success starts with getting things done. What are you doing to get started?