Do you struggle to get things done?
Do you have a lot of great ideas that never see fruition?
You could be suffering from a common ailment: The Start, But Don’t Finish Epidemic.
One of my favorite sayings is that ideas are a dime a dozen.
It seems to be part of human nature that we observe the world and identify the things that frustrate us, that we struggle with and so.
And the really cool thing is that we get ideas about how to fix things.
But for many of us that’s kind of where it both begins and ends. We have ideas, but we never get things done.
And this relates really to all types of plans. You might have plans to lose weight. You begin. Then a few days, weeks or months or whatever the weight is back on.
Maybe you wanted to write a blog post this week. You started. It went good for awhile. Thing stalled. The post still sits there waiting to be finished.
We could go on and on about the list of things left unfinished, but instead of doing that let’s look at some of the best tips for getting things done…whatever those things are.
Tip #1. Remove Items From Your List
The great thing about life is that you can do anything.
You can’t do everything.
You can do a lot of things, but you can’t do everything. Or, you can’t do everything well or to the fullest.
I think it’s healthy to try different things. There’s obviously a balance to all aspects of life, but if you’re struggling to get things done the first place to look is your list.
You probably have a list, right?
If it’s not on paper or on your calendar it’s probably in your head.
All the things you want to do today, this week, this year and in your life are on the list.
Backtrack a bit on that list.
What do you want to do this year?
Focus on a max of three things.
Back that up to each month, week and day. Cut out anything that isn’t essential to daily life (work, time with family, etc.) and cut anything that doesn’t help you achieve your one to maybe three things this year.
That’s it. Cut your list and you’ll instantly have more time and more focus to get what really matters…done.
Tip #2. Assess Your Ideas
It’s good to have lots of ideas. It’s good to get excited about things.
But there’s a trouble lurking if you’re always having great ideas.
The trouble comes when you get caught up in the initial excitement and use only that to fuel your effort. That will only go so far, but eventually you’ll have to rely on another source of energy to push through.
Have you ever had the idea to write a novel?
Many people have (I’m sheepishly raising my hand right now).
It’s exciting! You’re riding high. You maybe even write a chapter. But then the energy runs out and the book sits.
If your closet is full of projects that got off the ground with a flurry only to die a quick death then it’s time to start assessing your ideas.
This means taking the time to calm your excitement. Instead of jumping into the idea, take time to read more about it. Look for case studies and examples of those that have tried before you.
Then look at the process of creating whatever you want to create.
It’s easy to love the idea of a finished novel, but are you attracted to the idea of writing 10,000 words each day? If that part doesn’t excite you then it’s time to put the idea aside and wait until you fall in love with the process of something.
People that are successful at something love the process of that something, not the result. That’s a nice byproduct.
Tip #3. Replace Zombie Brain With Thinking Brain
This is a difficult one for me, but it does work.
Zombie Brain happens when you’re watching TV or a video on your phone or whatever. Your brain kind of shuts off and you become zombie-like.
The more TV you watch the less you’re able to concentrate.
Have you noticed this around you with others? People seem to be losing the ability to focus on something for more than a few seconds.
If it’s silent for five seconds they instinctively reach for their phone.
What’s the cure?
Turn off the devices and embrace your thinking brain. This happens when you just sit and observe the world around you. It happens when you sit and think about what’s going on in your life. It happens when you walk and when you read too.
How does this help to get more done?
Well, turning off the TV will give you more time to do things for one. But it will also allow your brain to function better. You’ll be able to think about things more thoughtfully and that will help with the other tips in this post.
Tip #4. Embrace Quantity
There’s a debate about quality vs. quantity in the world.
Sure, who doesn’t want quality?
But if you focus too much on quality you’ll paradoxically never achieve it.
How does that happen?
Well, think about something that you’re good at.
Maybe you’re a pretty good shot with the basketball. Maybe when you were young you had a little bit of a natural gift. Maybe you made a few shots on your toy basketball hoop and you wanted to do it again. So you kept at it and you became really good.
But if you had simply stopped shooting buckets at any point you wouldn’t have been as good as you are now, right?
Anything in life takes quantity.
Back to writing that novel for a second…
Don’t try to write the novel to end all novels. Try to write as many novels as you can. The first 99 might suck, but all that work and experience will put you in a really good place so that #100 could be the real game changer.
Don’t focus so much on failing. Don’t focus so much on quality.
Focus on doing something over and over and in time you’ll start achieving not only more, but better.
Tip #5. Create A Daily Habit
This kind of builds on the last one.
I’ve had the most success achieving things in life by making them daily habits.
I’m a firm believer that we are what we do every day.
The simple things in life, like that belief, are often the truest.
Simple, but obviously not easy.
Let’s say you want to write a novel. The only way that will happen is if you commit to doing it every day. Okay, give yourself one day off a week, but even that’s risky.
Some days it’ll be really easy. The words will flow.
But anybody can be a rockstar on those days.
The real trick comes on the days when it’s not easy. On those days, will you still put in the time and work?
If you’re writing a novel, set a word count goal. If you reach your goal easily one day still take the time to stop and move on the next task even if you feel like you can knock out more.
On those days when the count seems so far out of reach still push through until you do it even if you feel that the words are subpar.
For more, see info on the 20-Mile March.
Forcing yourself to do tasks each day puts things in perspective. It’ll force you to determine if you really want to do something and when you embrace the process you’ll start getting things done.
Getting things done is an epidemic for many people. It seems to be rooted in more than one thing. For some, it’s a fear of failing. For others, it’s more about energy and jumping into something new because it’s exciting, but then running out of gas once the initial excitement runs out.
If you’re finding that you can’t finish things that you set out to do then take these tips to heart. They really work. Notice the successful people around you and consider these tips. Chances are those successful people are doing these things even if they’re doing them behind the scenes.