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A Simple Way To Get Things Done

Get things done image via befat.net

Results for people with too much on their plate and zero direction

If your life is like most everybody I meet, you’re overworked, overwhelmed and over committed.

You’re so busy being busy that all the mental to-do lists, fancy planners and calendars snowball, day after day, leaving you confused and spent.

Listen, life is a constant battle with opportunity overwhelm. So many things to do, so little time.

Ask yourself if this rat race you’re on is really a race at all?

The real world

You’re a super-tired smart cookie with a huge agenda in need of a clear direction.

You pile on too many things that it’s no surprise by day’s end you’re left exhausted feeling somewhat unaccomplished. On the positive side, you’ve also proven that you can start and finish things, just not all things all the time.

This is important to know because much of what you want to accomplish in this life isn’t going to get done. Like, ever. Sorry.

But A LOT is possible.

Here’s the thing: You need to figure out how to corral all those thoughts, ideas and to-dos forever floating around, pick what’s important and let the rest go. This is the easy part and should come with some relief!

You mean I don’t need to DO EVERYTHING? you say. No, you don’t. Let the time-suckers go by the wayside.

Ask yourself if this rat race you’re on is really a race at all?

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Are you a dabbler or a doer?

First you need to be honest with which personality best defines your M.O. (modus operandi = best approach).

A dabbler flutters from one thing to another, not committed to any one thing, always testing, trying and learning.

One day you volunteer to chair a committee. The next you start a book outline. Then you decide it’s time to remodel the kitchen and spend hours on Pinterest looking at ideas. Then you take a refresher course for work or apply for a new job…

Dabblers have lots of interests. Variety is the spice of life, right? Nothing wrong with that for sure.

Unless being a dabbler — not getting the important things done — is frustrating you.

Consider the doer.

A doer has a clear intent or purpose and a plan of action.

A doer focuses on one thing until it’s complete or has exhausted its potential, before moving on.

How do you become a doer?

You make room by simplifying that crazy long list of should-dos, must dos and want to dos.

A doer knows what needs to be done, even if she doesn’t know how to do what needs to be done. She figures it out. Fear doesn’t hold doers back either. She does it afraid.

Doers then are not excuse makers. They don’t litter their own paths with unnecessary rubbish.

two women at a buffet cartoon befat.net

Step away from the buffet line

In contrast a dabbler treats every day like an all-you-care-to-eat buffet. What ends up on the plate is a mish-mash of flavors and textures.

It begs the question: just because you can carry twenty pounds of meat and gravy, roasted chicken and chicken piccata, baked and fried fish, three kinds of potatoes, vegetables, cornbread AND Parker rolls to the table, should you?

Pass the antacids.

The key to getting stuff done is to limit what you put on your plate. Sounds simple, right? How will the world revolve without your hands in the middle of everything?

It will.

But it’s tough to be a doer when the buffet includes a make-your-own sundae bar too!

Remember those children’s plates that were divided into three sections? It was a clear way to balance meat, starch and vegetables. A balanced diet.

Treat the thing you want to do likewise. Your three sections are intent, focus and desire. Consider “action” the dessert.

Start at the kiddie table

Remember, you had to graduate to the big kids table. During that time everything was served in smaller portions because that’s all you could digest comfortably.

Make your goal small enough to guarantee success. Give it a specific time period or end date.

Don’t say “I will run a marathon next week” if you haven’t even light jogged to the mailbox in ten years. Be realistic.

Start with the easy peasy stuff. By taking one small thing at a time you’ll accomplish more. Each success compounds and creates a snowball effect. Soon you’ll tackle the big to-dos and wants with focus and a plan.

A simple way to get results that work

This is how you will master the overwhelm and get things done:

Make a (long) list
List out everything you want, desire or need to do. This is the “brain dump”. Don’t edit it or over think as you write. Don’t censor it. Don’t be concerned with how am I going to that?

Refine the list
Be ruthless. Cross off all but the top three things you must accomplish.

Pick one thing
Out of the three things glaring at you pick the one that you can accomplish the easiest or fastest. The goal here is to get something started and completed asap! This will build momentum to tackle the next thing.

Seek support
Don’t reinvent the wheel. If you need help, seek out people who have done what you’re wanting to do. You might need to take a class, buy a book, hire an advisor, say ‘no’ to lots of other obligations.

Give a crap about doing it
Let’s face it, this thing you want to do should mean something to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s cleaning a closet or starting a business. Nothing is going to get done unless you make a solid effort.

By putting focus on one thing at a time you practically ensure success.

The goal is to create (and celebrate) small victories that build on each other. In no time you’ll stop being a perennial dabbler and become a seasoned doer!

As a side note: Don’t mistake the simplicity of this exercise for its potential power.

Just dessert

I’ve been a music dabbler since 4th grade: clarinet, flute, guitar, piano…yet have NEVER learned to play one song on any instrument!

I want to be a doer and learn to play Jingle Bells on the piano for my little people at Christmastime. Not a HUGE quest, but I can’t read music and my hand eye coordination is pitiful. Stops me every time from trying.

Until it finally made it to the top of my list.

So for $12 I bought an online course, Piano for All, at UDEMY. The result after just one week of practice won’t get me invited to Carnegie Hall.

Check out my shaky rendition of The Amazing Broken Chord Ballad. It’s sure to be the envy of every five year old enrolled in piano lessons!

Remember, a dabbler does shit.

A doer gets shit done.

Big difference.



If you got one smidgen of inspiration or a needed kick in the booty from this post, please subscribe to this blog, share with your friends or leave a comment. Thanks so much. I hope you have a great day! XO

Other posts you might like:

DO THE HARDEST THING FIRST When confronted with hard and easy tasks, for some doing the hardest thing first makes the rest of your list easy.

WHAT’S YOUR ONE THING TODAY?  A short motivation to do one thing today.



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  • Hi Stephanie,
    I’m happy to inform you that this post is featured in the recent part of TimeCamp’s weekly Productivity Articles roundup! Find “A Smart Way To Get Things Done – Read These Productivity Articles! 13/11/17” on https://www.timecamp.com/blog/.
    Thank you for sharing these excellent productivity and time management tips!
    Alex Rybacka, SM Manager at TimeCamp

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