Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Why It Doesn't Get Done

I bet plenty of the things you do are "no brainers". You are psyched to them and have no problem doing. Then, there are the "other things". It could be picking up the phone and calling a prospective client, writing an article for your ezine, creating a program that you've been meaning to do forever or something "easy" like answering a single email.

These are the things you know you're "supposed" to do but somehow never get around to doing. The things that you put on your to-do list time and time again but never cross off. Or you plan to do just as soon as you get a 3-hour block of time.

The problem is that when you don't get around to doing these tasks you, and your business run, the real risk of stagnating or maybe not even starting. You don't create programs, you don't bring in new clients, you don't market your business, and you don't bring in income.

Here's the cold hard truth...no amount of wishing will get these things done, you need a plan, but not any plan because we both know that you've made plans before. You need a plan that takes you into consideration. Who you are, what needs to be done and what is the best way for YOU to do it.

Here are 7 strategies that my clients and I use regularly to help us get ourselves motivated and moving. I encourage you to try a couple of them so that you can carry through and finally cross those "shoulds" off of your to-do list.

1. Know yourself. When you schedule something, take your habits and energy level into consideration. Don't try to do things that you find difficult to do when you are not at your best. For instance, if you are a morning person schedule more difficult tasks for the morning.

2. Be alert for distractions. What types of things come up whenever it's time to start working on something? Does your phone ring? Do you get distracted by email? Do you tend to work on other emergencies? What can you do to create an environment (at least for the short term) to avoid these distractions?

3. Give yourself extra time between tasks. Things often take longer than you expect them to. This will help keep you ahead of the game so that you're not playing catch-up all the time. It will also give you a feeling of satisfaction since you'll be able to finish the tasks you planned.

4. Break up large projects into smaller ones. It's difficult to find large blocks of time to accomplish whole projects so break them up into smaller chunks. Ask yourself: What is one thing I can do to advance this one little step? And of course, give yourself the time to do that one small task.

5. What do you really need to do? Oftentimes things don't get done because you don't know what specific steps you need to do or where to begin. If something has been on your to-do list for a while that you think should be a "no-brainer" but isn't getting done ask yourself: What comes to mind when I think of this task? Are any of these things actionable? What would I tell someone else to do first? Are there any questions I need answered or information that I need to know before I can do this? Am I the right person to do this?

6. Why haven't you done it already? WARNING: It's important to be objective and forgiving of yourself in this one. I encourage you to take a few minutes to understand why the project or task isn't getting done. You might realize that you and the project would be better served by getting someone else to do it or help you. You might realize that the project is simply not a priority and isn't the best use of your time and energy so it should be crossed off your list. Or you might see that you're using the other things on your to-do list as a distraction, keeping you from your real goal and that you want to put all of your energy here.

7. Just do something, anything. Pick up your pen, create a new document on your computer, or find the phone number of the person you've been meaning to call. By doing something, it really doesn't matter what; you usually find that the project isn't really as bad as you thought it would be and you gain the momentum you need to keep going and carry through to the end.

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