How to get ‘stuff done’
How to get stuff done:
Focusing…such an easy word however another thing entirely when it comes to the deliberate intention of it. Reminds me of mercury…you know the slippery slithery liquid version that you can intend to get into one concentrated mass at one location and all the while it seems to have the intention of remaining scattered and multiplying at great rates instead!
A tad like the wonders of our minds at work…or even rest (since for the mind there is no difference.) When we are focused it is amazingly simple and exquisitely easy to perform a multiple of tasks and incredibly often accompanied with much laughter and good humour- the opposite when we are trying to force to get things done, it seems as if more work keeps rushing at us from every angle and no sooner do we get our heads above water with one job when all of a sudden another ten are ungratefully dumped on us and any humour that is left is generally satirical if not bad taste entirely.
I recall this scattered and negatively humoured approach from my many years in the police force; as there was no such thing as ‘get in line’ or ‘take a number’ it was ‘Ohh you mean some-one is trying to kill you NOW!!!’ Expediency, urgency and efficiency all the name of the game, and yes, lives did count on it.
Now I know that there are others that feel their work is pretty much the same and of equal importance in the moment. Ok then, let’s really take the litmus paper test and of all the jobs that are lined up in front of you to complete lets check…who is going to die within minutes if any particular task is not completed immediately. That done, we can go to the next level of checks and ask…what are the 3 (and yes 3 only) most immediate necessary ‘things’ that I need to do from my scattered list of hundreds or thousands. (Be sure to feel very grateful if your list is less than this!)
This exercise was given to me many years ago now and has been a saving grace…especially if you are a busy ‘doer’ type who thinks others just can’t do the job the way you can. You will find that when you select 3 only and complete these 3 as priority and then relax how so many other items all on your ‘to do’ list find a way of getting done anyway- without your specific exertion and effort. You will find that people you have written to call, will call you instead, documents that needed your input will get redone and resubmitted- saving you extra effort, or the necessity for them being done in the first place will disappear.
Yes, what I am saying as our first priority is NOT doing more. It is not getting the jobs DONE as there will be more from where they came from. IT IS about getting us into a ‘state of mind’ of ease, of humour, goodwill, and of efficiency. This state of mind does not come about as a result of ALL that we have DONE. This state of mind is manufactured, yes made intentionally and yes, by us…not by another. There may be those that want to argue, that’s fine keep doing what you have been doing and you will keep getting what you have been getting (which is great if it is what you want!)- there is no room to add into a mind that is closed or already full up with its own assumptions and consummate level of knowledge. For those wanting to try another experience- since words do not teach, they stimulate the mind to be receptive to a ‘new ‘ experience, try this experiment on for the next 3 weeks. (If you are really not into any effort at all…commit for 7 days and then re-assess for yourself to see if it worth you continuing; it’s a great tool to learn how to do the least and get the most enjoyably!)
Write everything down on your ‘to do’ list. Include EVERYTHING from what you MUST get done, to what you would LIKE to get done and even what may be IMPOSSIBLE to get done.
Reread the list and select 3 tasks that are really the most relevant and important at this point in time. These 3 tasks then become your ‘to do list’ for the day.
Get those 3 things done!
Now if you still have time in your day and are feeling good, you may select another 1 or 2 tasks from your list and complete them. The trick is NOT to get overburdened or feel pressured as that will defeat the intent of the exercise- which is the feeling state of ease, humour, goodwill and efficiency.
Take note over the next few days and weeks how things on your list get done without you specifically having to follow them up as well as how much better you FEEL. (Also take note how no-one dies in the process of a particular task not having been attended to urgently!)
You will discover how you can re-prioritise in an instant and will direct your focus to where the gains will be the most (the old 80/20 rule), instead of finding yourself wasting so much time on what would never amount to much anyway. As we start winding up workloads at this time of year, keep this in mind to enjoy the process as this is the currency of your life, how you spend each moment is entirely up to you.
I keep one of my mentors quotes nearby to help keep me on track to stay focused and resist the urge of being scattered and busy, may it also be of use to you on your joyful journey.
“Things that matter most, must never be at the mercy of things that matter least!“ Goethe
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