Ever reach the end of the day feeling like you’ve been incredibly busy, but looking back you realized you haven’t really accomplished anything of importance….especially your priority items? It can be incredibly frustrating and even more so when your world seems to get continually busier and busier but you’re accomplishing less and less. A day is one thing, but how about weeks, months or even a year? That’s when it really gets your attention and moves from being frustrating to disappointing….. and even tragic.
I’ve noticed that my coaching clients and most everyone else who is struggling in this area have a few things in common. While all have unique things they are looking to achieve, what they are really after comes down to one of three basic things:
- Clarity around a belief, opinion or information.
- Meeting a challenge related to a particular issue, person, organization or circumstance.
- Achieving a “want” related to a goal or something to be gained.
Another common element I see that shows up repeatedly is that while everyone says they’re busy, they aren’t getting the things done that matter the most to them. In fact, despite having important items at the top of their “To Do” list, there are days on end when they never even get started on a single one! I feel the pain here also because I know that place all too well. I’ve also found a great road out.
Just as there are common elements to our challenges, there are also common elements or steps to getting the stuff done that matters most to you. Here they are:
- Awareness. Become aware of what you’re really after (not as simple as it may seem). For things to be different, something has to happen. You have to take action. Most people think that action has to be big and dramatic. The reality is that the first steps leading to Big change are usually small. Remember, action steps can be taken in one of the following 3 realms: Thought; Observation; Doing.
- Clarity. You have to get clarity on what what, specifically it is that you need to do and in what realm.
- Decision. Really decide. This is where a lot of people get tripped up; they either simply ruminate or vacillate and never make a decision. Our real power is in our ability to make a decision.
- Commitment. In order to be fully committed, make sure your motivation is where it needs to be in order to sustain you. I’ve written about what Drives us elsewhere. Put in simple terms, what you commit to has to be important to you and you have to have a measure of confidence you are capable of doing it.
- Execution. If you get to this point and no further, you’ll be more frustrated than when you began. Unfortunately and perhaps unbelievably, a lot of people do. They either succumb to the Resistance, fear, or fall prey to the Planning Fallacy. If nothing gets done, then nothing get’s done.
- Accountability. Once you execute and take action, you have to complete what you started. Can you complete things without accountability? Sometimes, but the odds go way up when accountability is in place. Another person or group of people are often the most effective for, but having accountability systems in place can also work. Left to our own willpower and “want to” will often leave us “without”.
Knowing these 6 steps is the easy part, but a lot more goes into each one when your navigating them in your own situation…….and it’s a lot messier. Whether your taking that first step, the next step, or navigating the step you’re currently on, sometimes you need the help of a friend, mentor or coach. That particular step isn’t listed here and requires something else on your part in order to take it: humility. Regardless, successive small steps, when progressively approximated, eventually lead to big change.
What’s your framework for taking action? If you don’t have one, what would having one do for you getting your most important stuff done?
What’s the next step for you? Please leave a comment or question to spark the discussion.