Waiting for the Perfect Moment? It just passed.

What are you waiting for? Just Do It!

Let’s face it, Nike has probably the best tagline of all time. And yet, so many of us just don’t do it. We wait, and ponder, and research, and on and on and on.

Look, the bottom line is: If you want to get stuff done, you’ve got to get stuff started. Many of us spend too much time focusing on planning and organizing and not enough time on the execution of those plans. This article will help you pull your head up from the design of those plans and into the delivery of your product.

One of the most important aspects of being more productive is being more action oriented. It’s the ability to quickly move from “Why did this happen?” to “How can I make this work?” Of course in between these two statements, you’ll need to devise a plan or steps to achieve a solution, but quickly moving from question to answer is the key to higher performance and greater results.

Let’s consider what a skilled action oriented person displays in their work habits.

Action oriented people readily take action on challenges without unnecessary planning. They identify and seize new opportunities.

They display a can-do attitude in good and bad times. And they step up to handle tough issues. If you think you need a little nudge in that direction, keep reading. We are going to look at three bad habits and then explore good habits to develop an action oriented mindset.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Bad habit #1: Procrastination

Do you tend to put things off until the last minute? Is there always another day to get something started? Do you think you perform best under pressure? These are typical ways of thinking for the premiere procrastinator. And while some people genuinely do work more effectively under pressure, it’s not universally true, or widely accepted.

Solution: To get yourself into an action oriented mindset, create mini-deadlines. Sometimes projects are long term or just have far time horizons. When you are presented with extended deadlines, break larger tasks down into smaller deliverables with tighter deadlines.

Create the sense of pressure to get you motivated to act. Here are three great ways to get moving early.

  1. Complete 10% of the task as soon as it’s assigned.
  2. Contact a stakeholder and tell them how you will proceed to the next step.
  3. Source materials and resources that you need to complete the project.

Bad habit #2: Perfectionism

Do you have zero tolerance for risk or error? Need everything to be just right before you can progress? Do you worry that every “t” isn’t crossed? Worried about being considered mediocre?

Perfectionism is a common trait among high achievers, and it is tough to let go of, especially if you pride yourself on it.

You may not realize it, but perfectionist behavior can hold you back from unlocking your
full potential.

Solution: To get yourself into an action oriented mindset, realize that others are unlikely to scrutinize as much as you do. You’re probably your own worst critic. With this in mind, learn to let go.

Practice tolerating less-than-perfect outcomes. Resist ironing every single wrinkle out of your shirt. Accept that the windows might have a few streaks. Live with a picture being slightly askew.

Don’t let the place go to ruin; just let things be as they may for a while. Learn to live with slight imperfections. Understand that perfectionism comes at a physical and emotional cost.

In the beginning, it will be stressful and agonizing, but after a short time of practicing tolerance and acceptance, you should find your stress levels going down and your productivity going up.

You will discover that sometimes good enough is good enough. You just need to be able to figure out when.

The time you save striving for perfection can be put toward actually getting
stuff done.

Bad habit #3: Lack of Motivation

Don’t see the importance of your task? Don’t see how it fits into the picture? Can’t see the grand vision? Missing the “why” of your work?

These are all viable questions, and they all lead to a lack of motivation. Sometimes a task or project seems pointless. You just don’t see why you have to expend time and energy on it. Throwing yourself into something you’re not inspired to do is hard going.

The trick is to turn your “have tos” into “want tos”.

And that all starts with your perspective. Part of your job is to see beyond your desk and out to the mission and vision of the organization. At times, you may want to seek counsel from your supervisor or mentor to grasp a greater understanding of the connection between your individual contribution and the greater goals of the company.

Solution: To get yourself into an action oriented mindset, here are a few tips that will reignite your motivation engine. Re-read the company mission and vision statements. Become familiar with company financial reports. Learn where your role fits in the department and the organization.

Find the “why” in all that you do.

Look, a status update is just a report, until it enables the CEO to recognize employees for their fantastic contributions. Sales stats are just numbers until they are turned into the success reported to shareholders or board members. And zero work-related injuries is just a safety tagline until it becomes a lower insurance premium.

Focus on the end result of your tedious task. What does it enable? Who is going to benefit? What difference will it make to them? Turn your “have tos” into “want tos”. Now you have a great reason to get the job done.

With so much change and uncertainty, there’s no better time to make a positive change in your life. Devise a plan that works for you. Deliver on your set goals. Decide to be more action oriented.

Remember, if you want to get stuff done, you have to get stuff started!

Your Mindful Moment:

It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must also step up the stairs.

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