7 ways to grow the action habit and get things done!
People at the top of every profession share one quality in common that supersedes intelligence, talent and connections — they get things done. This is what determines the size of your salary and the speed of your career advancement. Some relevant quotes:
· The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. (Vince Lombardi the American Football coach)
· Success has been cited as being 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.
· There’s an old saying that goes “There are three types of people in the world, Those who make things happen, Those who watch things happen, and Those who say, “What happened?” make sure that you’re one of those that make things happen!
However, despite the simplicity of this whole concept there seems to be a perpetual shortage of people who excel at getting results. The action habit — the habit of putting ideas into action now — is essential to getting things done. And what you will see from below is that the biggest individual factor in getting things done is the ability or even the decision to actually take action, it really can be as simple as that. Too often we seem to look for reasons to do just the opposite, to put barriers up to ‘create’ reasons not to take action, to procrastinate. Yet by diligently following these simple steps over time it’s possible to change this behaviour and consistently get things done!
Here are 7 ways you can grow the action habit:
1. Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect
Conditions will never be ‘just perfect’ and perhaps waiting for them to be so is just a form of mental procrastination. So make a start and deal with the issues as and when they arise. You may come up against an issue and judge that it might have been better to start earlier (or later), but hindsight is a wonderful thing and really there never is a perfect time to start, issues might arise at any time and you just have to deal with them.
Don’t procrastinate – don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today – TAKE ACTION and do it NOW!
2. Be a doer
Don’t just talk about it, think about it or put it on a list, get on and do it! Take action; don’t just think about taking action but make the next step and actually do something. That may be the difference between a successful person and others, the ability to do….
3. Remember that ideas alone don’t bring success
Ideas are important, but they’re only valuable after they’ve been implemented. One average idea that’s been put into action is more valuable than a dozen brilliant ideas that you’re saving for “some other day” or the “right opportunity”. If you have an idea that you really believe in, do something about it. Unless you take action it will never go anywhere.
4. Use action to cure fear
Have you ever noticed that the most difficult part of public speaking is waiting for your turn to speak? Action is the best cure for this fear and once you get started the fear will disappear. The most difficult time to take action is the very first time. After the ball is rolling, you’ll build confidence and things will keep getting easier. This is very similar to previous items, get on with it, take action and don’t procrastinate!
5. Start your creative engine mechanically
One of the biggest misconceptions about creative work is that it can only be done when inspiration strikes. If you wait for inspiration to slap you in the face, your work sessions will be few and far between. Instead of waiting, start your creative motor mechanically. If you need to write something, force yourself to sit down and write. Put pen to paper. Brainstorm. Doodle. Again, what is needed here is ACTION, don’t wait, don’t procrastinate, take action, make a start and the ideas will flow…...
6. Live in the present
Focus on what you can do in the present moment. Don’t worry about what you should have done last week or what you might be able to do tomorrow. Focus your thoughts and your efforts on what you can actually impact on, don’t waste energy worrying about things that you cannot change (past events) or that might not happen!
7. Get down to business immediately
It’s often common practice for people to make small talk at the beginning of meetings and the same is true for individual workers. How often do you check email or RSS feeds or favourite news sites before doing any real work? These distractions will cost you serious time if you don’t bypass them and get down to business immediately. By becoming someone who gets to the point you’ll be more productive and people will look to you as a leader.
Note: This blog is based on an article by John Jorgensen which in turn was inspired by The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz.