Just Do It!
There’s something to be said about this well-worn catch phrase courtesy of Nike. And yes, I’ve heard it said regularly and often, yet how many of us really do ‘just do it’?
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the thick end of thin things (to quote Stephen Covey), which is where we’re pushing ourselves to complete our endless ‘lists’ and it’s not always easy to find a way through it. It reminds me of that other saying about ‘seeing a light at the end of the tunnel but it was someone with a torch bringing me more work’! Back to the lists - we all have them and our list items come from all over the place - significant others, family, friends, colleagues, bosses, clients, customers. On it goes ... And if you're self-employed like me, you also give list items to yourself!
How do we cope with ‘the list’? Well – I’m pleased to say that the two productivity tools that I implemented earlier this year (refer to my article ‘Are you frittering away your time’ are still serving me well. How are they working for you? And there's another element I've added to ensure my time is used efficiently. That's a plan.
What I’ve added to my two productivity tools is a simple weekly schedule allowing me to plan the work and work the plan. I’m not sure who the phrase belongs to; it’s one of my favourite productivity quotes. I work to a weekly plan sheet (a glorified list), which categorises daily and weekly tasks as well as the things I’d ‘like’ to get to. The bigger tasks are broken down into smaller chunks, like writing this article, which will then feature in my next newsletter. Once this is done, I’ll get on to the newsletter construction. When the daily list is done, I’ll review the weekly list or my ‘like to do’ list and figure out what I can fit in next or pull forward. Alternatively, there’s also the opportunity to take quality time out – wouldn’t that be great? As I think of things that need to be done, I add them to the ‘like to do’ list or the ‘next week list’ so that they’re captured for scheduling in to next week’s plan.
Before we ‘just do it’, we need discipline – or the overwhelming desire to get it done. And that’s a story for another day. BUT, one way to generate energetic momentum is by starting the most daunting or challenging task first. Getting the ‘hard’ stuff done first can create a sense of accomplishment and achievement which inspires action for the next task and the next, and before we know it, we're really doing it!
Reviewing plans daily and weekly, planning the work and then diligently working the plan can provide clear direction and focus. When it’s time to start, we know exactly what our focus is, we can prepare and then, ‘just do it’.