November 5, 2004
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Over the past several weeks I have been writing a lot about thinking…thinking
about your purpose, your future and your goals. While thinking is certainly
important, all of your good ideas might just go to waste if you don’t
combine that thinking with a little bit of doing. Your thinking has probably
generated a host of to-do items and ideas for larger projects. Now is
the time put some of those ideas into motion.
Get something done
While I normally try to include some implementation time into every workday,
sometimes I need to schedule a “Doing Day.” This is a day
totally dedicated to implementation. Perhaps you need to add or update
pages on your web site or create a proposal for a new product. It can
be something as simple as getting your new printer installed or something
as complicated as launching a new ad campaign. If you are like me, you
probably have many items, tasks, to-dos that need to be addressed. Collect
all of your notes (You have been keeping notes, haven’t you?) and
put together a list of all the things, big and little, that you need to
move forward or, even better, complete.
Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, though. Everyone, if they think
hard enough, can come up with enough to-do items to fill a notebook. List
everything, no matter how small. You will find that it is in these small
steps that you find the most accomplishment. It is often the “little
things” that are holding up the biggest projects, so don’t
You can try and place them in some rough priority, although it really
doesn’t matter how you work through the list. Some items will rely
on the completion of other tasks, so they will naturally fall in order.
Beyond that, though, it really isn’t important. I want you to concentrate
on getting something done today, not more thinking about the priority
of each task. Today is for doing. Tomorrow you can think.
One recommendation…put the nastiest, most complicated and, usually,
the most ignored projects right at the top of your list. Today is the
day to make some forward movement on tasks that you have been avoiding.
You want to be fresh and full of energy when you attack these projects,
though, so you need to face them first thing. You can always shift to
other, less demanding, projects as your energy wanes, but you definitely
want to start here. Also, you can fit smaller tasks in and around your
daily life more easily. You will have time in the coming days to work
on them. Big projects require big chunks of time, so take that time now.
As much as possible
Don’t worry about not completing all your tasks. You would have
to be super-human to do that. This day isn’t about getting it ALL
done, just getting SOMETHING done. Any progress is good progress and dedicating
a day to implementation will have effects far beyond this one day. When
we successfully complete a task, no matter how small, it gives us energy
to attack the next…and the next. Implementation can be a self-powering
engine. The more you get done, the more you feel like doing. The good
feelings you generate today will spill over into all areas of your life,
both personal and professional.
While you are working on your projects, you will find yourself generating
lots of new ideas for projects and reminders of work that needs to be
done. Don’t let these ideas distract you from the tasks at hand,
though. Keep your notebook by your side and simply jot down enough information
to jog your memory later. These new thoughts will go back into a tracking
system so that you can start to implement them, as well.
While it would be great to keep a “doing” focus as part of
every day, sometimes we need to bring our focus to bear on implementing
our most important ideas. There has to be a balance between thinking and
doing, and a “doing day”, every so often, is one way to re-
establish that balance. When you are out of balance, it can effect your
life, your work and your career. Don’t let implementation issues
pile up until they reach a crisis point. Take a day, or more to get yourself
back on track and keep your career moving forward.
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