It’s what you do, not what you just plan. Bias towards action.
Are you always learning new things, looking for informative podcasts, blog posts, read endless books? Fantastic! That’s what many successful people do every day. Still, this could mean that you have found an interesting way to procrastinate on what you really should be doing. That said if all you do is look for input (books, podcasts, blog posts like this one, courses), but don’t balance it with a decent amount of output (doing the thing – creating – shipping your work), you’re just a dreamer.
Eventually, it boils down to what you’ve done in life, not what you wanted to do, planned to do, or hoped to do.
In this short post I do not want to entertain you. I’m sure you can find plenty of entertainment elsewhere.
What I would like you to do, however, is to take a minute and think about whether you have a good ratio of what you consume to what you produce, create, do.
Consuming instead of creating
Without a doubt, consuming high-quality information is very important and noble. But if all you ever do is learn more, research more, plan more, it’s about time to step back and look for the reasons and change things quickly.
- Looking for more input can be just another way to procrastinate. That includes:
- continuous research
- buying new books to dig deeper
- watching videos, listening to podcasts
- enrolling in new courses
Learn to block time for creating and learn to ship the work!
Begin by mastering the art of ‚just starting.’
It works great if you want to:
- to lower resistance
- to beat procrastination
- avoid perfectionism
SEPARATE THE PROCESS FROM THE OUTCOME
JUST STARTING is about focusing on the process itself and not the outcome.
Simply put, you sit your bum and do the work without any great expectations attached to it.
Too often, we procrastinate by thinking that we’re not ready to do something. We feel the need to do something before we start doing what we should be doing.
Do you say you’re not quite ready to create something? As they say: ‚show me your bad writing’.
- use a timer- set it for 2-5 or 10 minutes, depending on how hard it is for you to start. After that time, decide if you’re going to continue or not.
SHIPPING YOUR WORK – master the art of finishing things
When I think about this, it reminds me of my Mom. She would have this huge energy burst and try to declutter the whole house at one go.
As her excitement waned in the process, it usually resulted in utter chaos: many things started, nothing finished, no energy, no more motivation, no feeling of accomplishment.
We just talked about learning just to start doing the work, but there’s another component in the equation: closing, finishing, shipping.
Ideally, every day, have something to show for the time and effort, even if it’s a small but finished thing.
I’ve learned how to ‚just start’ things, now I am working on finishing things.
- You want to create a positive feedback loop and raise your self-efficacy ( aka “I can do it”)
- You’ll feel more accomplished if you have something FINISHED every day, even if small
- Open loops (unfinished tasks) drain our energy and take up a lot of our mental bandwidth
NOTE: it doesn’t have to be the same thing! You can totally ‚just start’ one thing and focus on finishing another.
By finishing, I mean: finish one paragraph or the entire post (if it’s short); complete one task or one step of the task
CREATE BEFORE YOU CONSUME
- Try to create before you consume.
- Having a Solid Morning Routine works excellent if you commit to creating before you consume.
- It’s easier to not start certain things that bring you instant gratification than to stop them. Resisting a bag of potato chips hidden in a cupboard is something different from resisting an open bag right next to you after you’ve had some).
- If you start your day with consuming information and entertainment, it won’t be easy to stop.
- Make it your reward for doing the work first.
- For example, block the first productive hour of your day writing or creating something that contributes to your future self.