(Photo by @JimmyMorrisUK)
My dad always says: “Something will go wrong, that’s for sure, because nothing is perfect. It’s good when something small goes wrong because it can be easily fixed. So, don’t worry, go ahead and fix it.”
(My dad is an entrepreneur who I highly admire. He built his engineering company from scratch 25 years ago and now have over 200 employees).
I believe that getting things done is a matter of mindset, which you can consciously choose to be in.
“Get things done” VS. “Keep the problem” mindsets
Mindset: Get things done
In this mindset, you are interested in getting your task sorted. Even if you feel you can’t make a decision right now, you are focused on getting it done as early as you can. Things you might be thinking:
- What is blocking me to get this done right now? (and you look for an honest answer, not excuses)
- What is the minimal information do I need to get this done?
- What can I sort out now with the information I’ve already got?
- Is the risk to get it wrong bigger than the hassle of having it still on my todo list?
- Is my decision actually going to change after I get the information I’m waiting for? (There is a very interesting research on decision paralysis in the book”Made to stick“. The mere existence of uncertainty seems to block people even when the uncertainty was irrelevant to the outcome.)
Mindset: Keep the problem
In this situation you feel you can’t make a decision and your mind feels blocked, maybe because of uncertainties or concerns. Now, you may be genuinely blocked, but in most cases you might be only in a “keep the problem” mindset, walking around in circles, until you’re forced to make a decision.
The only way to get out of this mindset is to start asking yourself the questions from the “get things done” (above).
I believe that, in most of the time, it’s a conscious decision to change our mindset to get things done.
Interesting talk on becoming a good arguer and how an argument can be a win-win situation.
Lots of fruit for thought!
I read Oscar Wilde’s “The importance of being earnest” for the first time this weekend. It’s an absolute delight! Very witty, as you’d expect. And I totally recommend it.
Here is an excerpt:
Jack: I am sick to death of cleverness. Everybody is clever nowadays. You can’t go anywhere without meeting clever people. The thing has become an absolute public nuisance. I wish to goodness we had a few fools left.
Algernon: We have.
Jack: I should extremely like to meet them. What do they talk about?
Algernon: The fools? Oh! about the clever people, of course.
Jack: What fools!
(Oscar Wilde, The importance of being earnest)
You can download it for free for Kindle on Amazon.
Following my talk about making ideas happen, these are a series of questions to help you find out what is essential to you. Once you have it clear in your mind, it will help you make everyday decisions when it comes to prioritising your list of projects and tasks, your life commitments and your goals.
This approach comes from the book “The Power of Less” by Leo Babauta.
Take a piece of paper and write down:
- What are your values?
What are the most important things to you? What really matters to you? The qualities you want to have and the principles you want to live your life by.
- What are your goals?
What do you want to achieve in life? What about next year, this month, today? Not only professionally.
- What do you love?
What do you love doing? How do you love spending your time and Who do you love to spend your time with?
- What is important to you?
What are the most important things to you? In life, work, etc.
- Making ideas happen – Scott Belsky
- The power of less – Leo Babauta
- 99u.com - 99% Blog, Insights on making ideas happen
- The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
- Seth Godin‘s blog
- “Saying no”, talk by Jason Santa Maria at the Creative Mornings
- “Purpose Your Day: Most Important Task (MIT)” by Zen Habits
- Derek Sivers: How to start a movement at TED Talks
- The Action Method – Tasks / Projects management tool
- Things - Tasks / Projects management tool
- Tadam – Timer
- The emergent task planner - I came across this template and it looks like a good way to prioritise tasks in a day.
[to be updated...]
I’ll be giving this talk at the Milton Keynes Geek Nights in December.
I always wanted to write blog posts, but perfectionism would block me from publishing them. I now put less pressure on myself, write very short and concise posts, and ship it before I feel they are 100% ready.
This is why:
- The blog posts get published, rather than keep lingering around in my drafts to then be forgotten
- It makes me focus and write less (no waffle). I ship it before I get a chance to lose focus
- It helps me learn. Every time I post something I learn what works and what doesn’t from people’s feedback
- And most importantly: Because it’s live and anyone can see it, it forces me to refine it.
I then only share it on social media when I’m happy with it (usually the next day).