The Secret To Getting Things Done

secret to getting things done

There is only one thing you need to do to get things done, no matter what the time frame or task. It’s very simple, yet profound. And still many people won’t do it.

Want to know this secret?

The secret to getting things done is to DO them.

This may seem easy. It is not.

Brain Interference

If it were simply a matter of our body doing the action, I think a lot more would get done. Unfortunately, our brains get in the way.
Fears, anxieties, procrastination, and what-ifs all crowd in to block our instruction to our bodies to do whatever it is that needs doing.

False Productivity

It is often far easier to do the support work than it is to do the actual work to complete the task.

“I will get started on the novel when I have all the notes typed up,” or “I will do the three years of filing when I find the perfect font size for the labels” are examples of this.

These tasks don’t get you any closer to completing the task. Yet they feel productive. This is because they are associated with the tasks, but they are not critical as even necessary to the outcome.

It’s simply busy work that your brain has convinced you must be done, because the task is easier than the actual work.

This is a type of productivity blocker called “but first”. It is well described in this Pickles cartoon . It’s where you start to do something, but first you see something else that needs to be done, but first something else needs to be done before that. And yes, you do end up walking backwards!

Identify the Primary Work

Getting to actually doing the work starts with identifying what the primary work is. Sometimes looking at what “done” is can help with this.

In my examples above, the goals are writing a novel, and getting the filing filed.

From there it becomes easier to identify what the primary work is. In the case of the novel, it is writing the words in the manuscript. In the filing, it’s putting the pieces of paper into the file cabinet.

Once you break it down to this level, you can spot the false productivity a mile away.

You Can Over-Prepare

Most of the time, the preparation we tell ourselves has to happen before tackling a task is not necessary at best, or meaningless at worst.

Yes, it does help to be prepared. (Of course I would say that, I’m a Girl Scout) But at the same time, preparation can often get in the way of doing.

The Next Time

The next time you’re telling yourself that you have to do something before getting to the task at hand, ask yourself if you are over-preparing or engaging in false productivity.

And then put those things aside, and just do it.