This is a story about how I realized that it’s way more important to actually DO instead of never-ending PLANNING. We tend to get sucked into a planning process – when and how we will make things happen. We like waiting for the perfect moment and being ready. So this is a simple reminder that things get done when you DO them. Here’s how to start doing instead of planning.
Do you ever feel like you’re running in circles?
Coming up with new ideas… planning… starting… but never going anywhere?
I read several articles on Medium related to this topic (you’ll find them at the end of this post) and it hit me. WHY are we wasting our time creating the perfect path if nothing will ever be perfect anyway and we’ll get loads more results from getting started?!
It was my personal wake up call to review my working habits and start thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’m doing something terribly wrong. If you feel like you could get done more if you’d leave your fears and doubts behind, read on.
I’m a part of millennials which basically means that although I know there is a life behind computer screens and information can be found in books, I still find myself stuck by the computer for most of my life. As someone recently stated,
we used to visit the internet, now we live here”
Well, it’s also my source of income, my holy grail of creativity and much more. It’s not all a waste of time.
But looking at the hours spent by my laptop has made me think:
- What are the actually useful things I do when I’m online?
- What are the daily routines I’m just stuck with?
- How can I improve this time and make it count?!
When I started using RescueTime I saw the real statistic of what was going on. There was too much time spent on stuff.
On stuff that was somewhat useful but mostly – not as useful as I’d like it to be. Those were inspirational articles, time spent in Facebook groups networking, hours of e-mail answering.
I realized that a lot of my time is spent on managing, for planning, for preparing to make things work. But when it came to getting it done – so much of the time had already passed… it was no use!
And soon afterward I realized that I’m trying to catch up with way too much information and be too present.
If you feel anything like me, make sure to read some simple yet very effective tips on how to deal with this information and to-do overload you’re getting yourself into.
How to start doing instead of planning
STEP #1: Get more intentional about things you do
The very moment when I realized how much kind of useful stuff I do, I started rethinking not only my business but my whole life.
Where else was I spending my time with no real outcome? What are the things I do, think about and have that should not be a part of my life?
As soon as we start focusing on what really matters and throw out the rest, the value of our time increases and things get done.
Ask yourself what will serve you in the long run?
Don’t do things just because they are in your way, they seem to be convenient or someone said you should get on it.
Be mindful about your time and where you invest it. Strive to seek reasons behind the tasks on your list. Review and evaluate where your 24 hours really go.
One of the most inspiring authors Greg McKeown has a course on how to accomplish more with less. It helps you to get your mind straight and understand what really matters!
STEP #2: Stop consuming useless information and stop doing useless musts
Unless you don’t know that you’re screwed, no one will be able to realize this for you. It’s like an addiction!
As long as you see the problem, there is a solution. And here are some things to consider.
Decide what’s really important
Remember: it’s not about doing either boring or fun stuff. It’s about doing what matters. There’s always an additional time in your life for fun and having time off is crucial. But it’s also important to have quality time off, not just sitting by the TV.
- Will it be reading a marketing strategy book or watching News?
- Will making your to-do list prettier or checking something off that list make you more productive?
- Which apps are just for numb fun and which – for educational or useful purposes?
- What TV Shows can you find inspiration from and what eat more of your time than anything else?
- What activities you do just to escape what you really need to get done?!
Eliminate the rest
And I mean it. ELIMINATE is the answer. Delete apps that are consuming way too much of your time. Delete e-books that are waiting for your attention more than a half year or so. Get out of useless Facebook groups. Unfollow people. Eliminate the clutter from your life and business.
When you have all of this stuff around, it’s easy to give up. Besides that, your mind is cluttered with this information waiting for your attention. Let it go!
Manage your time
This is the hardest part of this. Manage your time and see where it goes.
Dedicate time to rest and recreational activities – as much as possible. But do the work when you need to get it done. And make sure to manage all of that. You can use time theming to make it easier.
I currently use Google Calendar to deal with overwhelm – that’s where I’m adding EVERYTHING I both need to do and afterward – what I actually did at that time.
So at the end of the day I know:
- How much time I’ve actually invested in better me and a better future?
- Where have I left is slip, more than it was necessary?
- How can I improve the next day or the next week? How can I plan better?
Learn to ditch projects
Whatever we’re talking about here: articles, books, movies, projects, new hobbies. People have a tendency to finish things no matter what because they’ve wasted so much time on that already, how can they not to finish what’s started! But it’s a false argument.
If you’ve started something that doesn’t feel quite right, WHY you should waste even more time on that and then be unsatisfied after all? Just quit! There’s nothing bad about it.
STEP #3: Learn by doing – practice makes perfect!
Most of the people tend to think they don’t know enough to get them going. They always feel like learning more is the answer. When, in reality, you just have to get started!
Whether it’s your business, e-mail newsletter, photographing, fitness or cooking. Just go for it! Don’t make “not knowing” or “not having an experience” your excuse. It’s so easy to fall into this trap…
You can still learn and don’t get me wrong – it’s always a good idea to learn something new. But don’t limit yourself by the things you don’t know. Yet.
Getting things done will make you feel more inspired and you’ll be able to learn from your own mistakes.
Don’t bury yourself under the pile of must-do articles, books, how-tos. Instead, do the activities that motivate you to get better, that improve your abilities. Be ACTIVE and meaningful in your life.
Finding the balance
By all of this, I don’t mean that you should recklessly get into everything that comes on your mind, without giving it a thought.
Planning IS an important part of the process in most cases. What we need to do is to learn how to find the balance.
- Give up the excuses and evaluate which steps of the process are truly meaningful to get things DONE.
- Create systems that work for you and follow them, instead of getting distracted by all kinds of new information that comes your way.
- Schedule time for learning but don’t forget implementing
Suggested reading list
Although providing you with a list of suggested reads might go against the idea of this article itself (stop learning, start doing!!), it’s still important to improve, widen your horizons and, after all, get some additional inspiration. WHEN it’s relevant, not just used as an excuse.
Here are some books I have personally found truly valuable when it comes to becoming more productive and getting things done:
- Essentialism. The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeow
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM) by Hal Elrod
- Finish: Give yourself the gift of done by Jon Acuff [my personal favorite!]
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
- Productivity Habits That Stick: Use Time Theming
- Productivity Today: Managing Attention in the Digital Age
- Project Management in Real Life: Simple Workflows to Achieve Your Goals