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Getting Things Done

Make a Start

Many of us have a list of things we would like to get done but somehow never get round to doing. The art of getting things done and achieving everything on our to-do list is probably one of the key tools for a successful life. But, as we all know, getting our sleeves rolled up and doing what needs to be done is something we can avoid all day long. It is the ‘doing’ bit of the equation that puts us off. As Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.

There are three possible approaches to overcoming the urge to avoid doing something. First of all, ‘just do it’. As soon as you see what needs to be done give yourself twenty seconds and then do it. This tries to short-circuit all of the excuses that your brain will try and muster up and tether you down in lead weights. Secondly, if that hasn’t worked, set yourself a date to do it and write down when and where you will do it. Psychological research says that this strategy will double the chance you will make a start. It’s like you are setting yourself an appointment for action – and we tend to attend appointments whether we want to or not.

Finally, if those two approaches have failed then break the tasks down into tiny steps or chunks of time and try one step at a time. This tried-and-tested strategy can break the stiffest resistance to doing something. The critical and most difficult bit is making a start.

Taking action brings a sense of achievement and unexpected things can happen when we start moving onto the next new step along our life path. Bottom line: just do it.

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