How to Get Things Done Do It Now, Do It Today
I am not a doer by nature. I am a thinker and a perfectionist. Left to my natural devices, I like to contemplate matters to the nth degree before I execute them. As a leader, I have had to grow in this area. I want to share with you one of the most important lessons I have learned about how to get things done.
I love lists. I love to collect ideas for future projects. My goals are so many, they make me dizzy. And they make the people close to me feel overwhelmed. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that I naturally tend to think about these ideas and projects more than actually taking action to get them done.
As leaders, our goal is to bring home the bacon. To close the deal. To finish the job. And that requires action! Strong, consistent, decisive action. Allow me to share with you two simple yet powerful principles that you can begin applying today to get things done consistently.
Do It Now
Remember these three words, and repeat them to yourself often during the day: Do it now. This principle is obviously simple but if you apply it, it will revolutionize your productivity.
I learned this from observing productive people. It was so peculiar to me at first. I would ask a highly productive person on my team to help me with a task. They would stop real quick and do it. And I thought to myself, “Why did they do it right then? I would add it to my to-do list and do it later in order of priority?”
Yet, I constantly struggled to get to my to-do list. In fact, my to-do list was usually my “not done” list, my “I am overwhelmed” list, and my “I can’t keep up with this” list. And many times I would simply abandon my list entirely. So I slowly moved away from adding everything to my list, and began to simply get them done right then and there.
Practically speaking, here is how I apply it: if I can do it now, I do it now. As soon as it comes up, I pounce on it. I hit it hard and fast. And bam! It’s done. That’s how I process emails, answer texts, make phone calls, talk to people, and take care of other tasks that need to get done.
The big danger here is to miss the right timing. You must discern for yourself when you should wait, especially when relationships are on the line. The do it now principle should not supersede careful deliberation when that is what is called for. Be wise to maintain balance. Like anything else in leadership and life, there is rarely a black and white standard. Use common sense. But if you can act while others contemplate, you will usually get ahead of the pack.
Do It Today
Let’s get things done today. Again, this is not my natural inclination. Let’s not be pushy or overbearing with our team, but anything we can do today, we must.
Any time anything needs to be done, one of the top questions I ask myself is, “Can this be finished today?” Why? Because when you finish something by the end of your day, like a project, or a meeting, or a product to be made, you create momentum. You feel productive. Things get moving. Action begets action. Results beget results.
You must be careful not to let the now or today trip you up when it comes to your priorities. You don’t want to start addressing only the urgent and forget the important just so you can take care of today’s problems. The way I deal with this is to create intentional time every day and every week to specifically and carefully think about the big picture. After that is done I attack, finishing tasks and projects now and today. Of course I must ensure this does not translate into a rushed approach lacking excellence, or pushing people in a manner that does not honor their timelines and carefully laid plans. Rather, applying these principles should serve to stretch us past our natural inclinations of procrastination and overthinking.
I hope this article will help you think about your own productivity. If you are feeling encouraged to get things done, I invite you to share it with others.
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