Just Get It Done


There comes a time in the midst of busy lives and businesses when you just have to knuckle down and plow through some of the projects on your plate.

Perhaps it would be better if someone else did it.

Perhaps there is a smarter way to get it done.

Perhaps your resistance to it is telling you something important.

Perhaps there are a million reasons why it’s not getting done.

All of those perhapses could be true. They could all be false.

What we know with absolute certainty is that if no one gets it done – however they get it done, regardless of whether they do or don’t want to do it – you’ll be waking up only to push the now-heavier boulder up the hill tomorrow.

If it’s a frog, it’s not going to get any easier to do in the future. Lace up and start catching frogs.

If it’s kinda-sorta-nice-to-do-but-nonessential stuff, call it as it is and put it in the pile of kinda-sorta-nice-to-do-but-nonessential stuff. That pile will grow to fill whatever mental and emotional space you give it.

Let go of all the attachment about how you’re supposed to feel about getting it done and just get it done. Not every task has to be inspired, fulfilling, meaningful, happy-making, creative, or “at your level.” A commander on a battlefield sometimes has to start firing, an executive sometimes has to sort paper, and a politician sometimes has to take a taxi. Get the job done first – worry about the process later.

Yes, I want you to look at your plans and see that the most likely reason things aren’t getting done is that you’re spending too much time not-working the already-too-big plan. It’s not a comforting thought, I know, but our desire for comfort often thwarts our getting our hands dirty, our backs sore, and our souls fulfilled.

Decide and act quickly: What can you drop? What can you push to the kinda-sorta pile? And what will you get done?

p.s. I didn’t include delegate to somebody else for a reason. And, no, I haven’t read Do the Work yet. I’ve been doing the work.

p.p.s. Yes, you can. Will you?

Comments

  1. says

    I feel like you are spying on me. Thanks for this post. This is exactly what I needed to hear and I will get it done and I will also repost your post. You are right some things are not fun and who said that they need to be in order to be completed?

  2. says

    Thanks for writing this =) I love this: “Let go of all the attachment about how you’re supposed to feel about getting it done and just get it done.” That’s a great point. When I stop thinking and over-analyzing and just START something, I’m always amazed at how much easier it is than I thought it would be.

  3. tulpoeid says

    This post is one typical example of why I like your blog!
    Btw I also loved the sentence with the attachment – plus it was only recently that it occurred to me how I don’t have to _feel_ _good_ in order to work on important tasks. _Feel_ inspired and ok with yourself doesn’t have absolutely anything to do with getting a task done.

  4. says

    I love this, Charlie. :)

    A soundtrack to this post might be Rush’s “Carve Away the Stone”:

    You can roll that stone
    To the top of the hill
    Drag your ball and chain
    Behind you

    You can carry that weight
    With an iron will
    Or let the pain remain
    Behind you

    Chip away the stone
    (sisyphus)
    Chip away the stone
    Make the burden lighter
    If you must roll that rock alone

    You can drive those wheels
    To the end of the road
    You will still find the past right
    Behind you
    The weight of the load
    Try to put the sins of the past night
    Behind you

    Carve away the stone
    (sisyhpus)
    Carve away the stone
    Make a graven image
    With some features of your own

    You call roll the stone
    To the top of the hill
    You can carry that weight
    With an iron will
    You can drive those wheels
    To the end of the road
    You can try to deny
    The weight of the load

    Roll away the stone
    (sisyhpus)
    Roll away the stone
    If you could just move yours
    I could get working on my own

    • Karen J says

      I love ‘message rock’ – Thank You, Heather, for calling this one out!

      (Album track for “Carve Away the Stone” is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtsXaGUpG5w)

      … and Thank You, Charlie, for saying out loud what seems obvious to many folks! My brain-process often needs/wants to *deep-down-know* the Most Basic Parts (understand the whole process) before it’s willing to take the first steps.

      Love and bright Blessings ~ Karen

  5. says

    Reminds me of the Common Denominator of Success article by Albert E.N. Gray – been talking about this one alot lately with clients.

    “The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”

    Like you said above – not everything is sunshine and roses, and sometimes the things that feel most “ick” are the ones we really just need to get done anyhow. Roll up our sleeves and go (and figure out the “better” way to do it later or next time.)

  6. says

    I think your message has a good intent, but it doesn’t really help people who lack the motivation to get things done. I think if it was so easy to get done, we would’ve gotten it done a long time ago

    • says

      Thanks, Henway. But the people who needed to hear this aren’t couching their inaction in a lack of motivation.

      And who said it was easy? Simple, perhaps, but simple‰ easy. :)

  7. says

    This is so true–whenever I’m faced with a task I dread that absolutely has to get done, I remind myself that it’s not going to feel any easier if I put it off ’til tomorrow… or the next week……. so why not do it NOW? (because if I do it NOW, it won’t be hanging over my head tomorrow!!)

  8. Archan Mehta says

    Thanks for a brilliant post, as usual, Charlie. Your post resonated with me.

    Several thousand years ago–in ancient India–wise people even had a phrase for what you have described here. Want to know about it? Well, here it goes.

    It’s called nishkama karma. It is a way of being. It is a way of becoming. It is yogic.

    It means just do your work without attachment to the outcome. Do your duty without having an eye on the prize. Do what is right without any expectations of reward. Just do it.

    Being engaged with the process means that you don’t think about success or failure. You treat those two imposters just the same, to paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature years ago.

    Try to treat the work you do objectively without emotional attachment. Of course, this is easier said than done, but you get the picture, right? Otherwise, daily life–which is full of dull,boring tasks–would become dysfunction. After all, the show must go on.

    I have to do the dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, pay the bills, clean the home, do my laundry, and other tasks. Yes, I wish I could delegate, but that is not possible in my situation.
    You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty even if you don’t like it. Sometimes, life is not a bed of roses and you just have to swim against the tide.

    Some of the best writers out there keep on plugging away even on days when they are in a foul mood, do not feel inspired, and feel like lazing around in the sun and getting a tan. In the end, that’s what separates the winners from the losers. The losers are victims of their moods and the winds of change, whereas the winners believe in discipline. Cheers.

  9. says

    Hey Charlie, This post is exactly what I needed to read today.
    Thanks for kicking my ass! I always feel better when I finally hunker down and do the work.

  10. says

    This is great. I especially like the part about not expecting every thing you do to be a glory ride.

    My version of this – what I think and say to myself – is it’s like doing crunches. Abdominal work that really sucks. Even worse when the teacher says, “Ten more”. I don’t like it, it doesn’t feel good, but later, oh, the satisfaction.

    Not to be confused with ‘crunch time’. :)

  11. says

    Agreed. Sometimes you just got to go at it and not think too much about it. Paralysis by analysis happens a lot and it can be hard to catch yourself doing it.

  12. Karen J says

    ThankYou ThankYou ThankYou! Charlie for using “the right words” to make an AhHah for me.

    Especially your second Perhaps “…there is a “smarter” way…” – that’s the one that gets me stuck, over and over again! I’ve known for a long time that it was Analysis Paralysis, but not exactly *what* to do about it – “Let go of your emotional attachment to Process” is just the ticket, for me, today.

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