Long before Nike captured the phrase “Just do it,” the expression showed up as a featured bit in Mayberry, North Carolina. That’s right, the home of Sheriff Andy Taylor and his intrepid deputy Barney Fife. It happened on Andy’s front porch. Here’s the clip:
A good friend of mine once said, “It is amazing how much you can get done if you just do it.” Well, he’s right. We never seem to have enough time, but no one has more than anyone else yet some seem to get more done than others. Why? Here are seven tips to help you get on with the job.
- Focus on what is important not just what is urgent. This will take some effort and some thought, but you can do it. I cannot begin to determine what is important for you. It is highly unlikely anyone else can either, but others can serve as advisors and clarifiers if you’re having trouble determining what is important. You should have, somewhere in ther recesses of your mind, an idea of what you want to accomplish and what is really most valuable. Push everything else away.
- Do only those things that will make a great deal of difference if you succeed. Some tasks may not be worth the effort. Go back and read #1 again. There is just not enough time or energy to engage in every “good” project. I worked for a client one time as a seminar and conference organizer. Late one night I was assisting the crew process a large number of recently received registrations. The business owner showed up and stopped everything while he spent nearly an hour playing with the print codes to change a font (this was back in the days when such things had to be done by code.) Now, the resulting font change looked a little better, but the old one served the purpose just fine since we were only printing registration receipts. The job did not make a great deal of difference. Don’t fall into that trap.
- “Good” is not good enough. Don’t be swayed into taking on projects or tasks just because they are worthy. They may not be worthwhile for you. Don’t let others manipulate you into their worthy projects either. You are responsible for your life and what happens or doesn’t happen, not them.
- Do primarily those things that only you can do – farm out the rest. There are certain tasks and responsibilities that are solely yours. You possess certain skills and insight and can apply them to your important jobs like no one else. Do not get dragged in to other tasks that someone else could…and should, be doing. I have been building five specialty websites for which I needed some modifications made on several graphics files. I downloaded an open source program (a clone of Photoshop), wasted an hour or so trying to make the modifications, gave up, and posted the job on Elance. Within a few minutes I had more than a dozen offers, hired a contractor, sent him the files by email, and had them done by someone else in under two hours while I went back to the job I could do. The cost was just $20. It would have taken me a day or better to figure it out and make the modifications. The contractor was glad to have the work, I have used him on more projects since, and I could focus my efforts on those tasks that I alone can do on the project.
- Stop wasting time checking email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or whatever else on line. The world will not end if you don’t text someone for two or three hours. Being connected is rewarding, being too connected and too dependent upon being connected is punitive. We live now in a different world, but Thomas Jefferson had something revealing to say. When he was President, someone asked him what the news was from the US Ambassador to Spain. “I didn’t hear from him last year,” he replied, “I haven’t heard from him yet this year, and if I don’t hear from him next year, I’m going to write him.”
- Stop reading about, collecting information about, thinking about the job, get on with it. When I had my woodworking business some of my clients were hobby woodworkers. It always amazed me how a few of them had the most elaborate shops equipped with every tool imaginable but have never actually built anything to speak of.
So, go home, take a little nap, go over to Thelma Lou’s for TV. Just do it!