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WHY things don’t get done: Break it down

Welcome to Part Two in the WHY things don’t get done series.

Last week’s reason was not knowing what to do next (you can find that here).

This week we’re talking about knowing what to do but not doing it.

This might happen because you haven’t broken things down enough, are afraid of getting it done, are waiting for inspiration, are feeling lethargic, or some other reason.

Sometimes I have clients who KNOW what to do next, but they don’t know how to approach it. It’s a black hole project (a project that you don’t know how long it will take, and it feels like it will such ALL your time and energy).

The reason you’re not doing it will determine what your next best step is.

The reason you’re not doing something isn’t always obvious either.

To get to the reason, you need to remove obstacles to make it easier to see what’s going on.

I’ve had clients who thought they were afraid to finish a project, but the actual problem was that the project wasn’t broken down enough. Once they broke it down, it was no longer a black hole project, and they were able to complete it quickly.

Alternatively, I’ve seen clients break things down into a manageable checklist and not do it. But this allowed them to see what they were actually avoiding.

Breaking things down into smaller doable steps (or creating a checklist) can sometimes provide the momentum that allows you to be inspired or move through the blah feeling.

And sometimes, it provides the momentum that allows you to get inspired or move through the blah feeling.

When it comes to inspiration, a quote I return to a lot is:

If you want to create something and you’re not feeling inspired, take a closer look as to why that is or just ignore it and start doing stuff.

Craig Benzine

Often action creates inspiration (and not the other way around).

To sum up, break projects and tasks down into smaller steps. Then one of three things will happen:

  1. you’ll get the project/task done or 
  2. it will shine a light on the real reason it’s not getting done or 
  3. it will give you the momentum to finish it.

Next week, we’ll discuss reason #3 for WHY things don’t get done.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube or in my free FB group.

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WHY things don’t get done: Part 1

Sometimes things just don’t get done.

It can be because we’ve decided to focus on something else.

But typically, that’s not the case.

Something else is going on.

We don’t like to talk about it.

We try to ignore it.

But it’s there, causing us problems and holding us back from the progress we want and the success we know is on the other side of it.

Today is the start of a 6 part series where we’ll talk about WHY things don’t get done.

The first reason we’re going over is having so much to do you don’t know what to do next.

This is one way that overwhelm manifests itself.

There’s so much going on in your head, so many priorities, that you just don’t know what to focus on first.

To solve this, write everything down.

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” – David Allen

Release your mind from holding your ideas and tasks by writing them down.

If you need help with this, read last week’s post called Making “writing it down” work for you or read this post on doing the next three things.

Next week, we’ll discuss reason #2 for WHY things don’t get done.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube or in my free FB group.

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Making “writing it down” work for you

Last time we talked about my number one tip for keeping track of everything is to write it down AND how there are some things to have in place to make that work.

Today, I’m going into more detail on making writing it down work for you.

Last week, I referenced having a limited number of “capture locations.” They’re exactly what they sound like. They’re the places where you capture the information, ideas, tasks, etc. And from there, they get moved to where they need to live to take the next step.

You want a minimum number of “capture locations” to avoid the “where did I put that” scenario. If you know you write things down in one of three spots, finding what you wrote gets a lot easier.

That’s one habit to develop, deciding which capture locations work for you. I’ve had clients use phone notes, a small notebook in their purse, a notebook on their desk, Evernote, OneNote, and many other locations. It’s all about noticing what works, or would work, for you and doing it.

Another habit to develop is regularly reviewing those capture locations to move the information to where it needs to go to be done or filed. This might be something you do daily or weekly. It can also be after a meeting or tied to another event that occasionally happens.

Here’s the real secret to getting writing it down to work for you: try things until you find what works for you right now and in the immediate future.

Chances are, the first thing you try won’t work 100% for you. And that’s okay!

Notice what part of it does work for you and adjust from there.

background image of woman writing in notebook. Text on top says "My number one tip for keeping track of it all"

My number one tip for keeping track of it all

My number one tip for keeping track of it all…

Is to write it down.

It’s like that document you put in a safe place. It’s SO safe, even YOU can’t find it.

So, there are some caveats or tips to writing it down.

In David Allen’s book Getting Things Done, he talks about having a limited number of “capture locations.” Capture locations are the places you “capture” information, ideas, tasks, etc. From there, they get moved to the place they need to live so you can take whatever the next step is with them.

So, if it’s a to-do list item, it moves to your Weekly or Everything list (more on that here).

If it’s an item you’re keeping for reference, you file it with other reference items.

There are a lot of habits hiding in this workflow that need to work together.

I will go more into this next week when I talk about making “writing it down” work for you.

If you prefer listening/watching, you can catch this on YouTube. Or join the conversation in my free FB group here.

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What if there wasn’t an “other shoe”?

I remember being on a Q&A group call with my coach at the time (probably 8 years ago). Someone was sharing what was happening in her business (sharing the back story before her question), and the coach said, “It sounds like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. What if there’s not one?”

My coach wasn’t saying that you shouldn’t take steps to avoid mistakes or problems. She was saying that you don’t have to live with a sense of impending doom.

I’ve thought about this often in the years since this happened.

What if there wasn’t an “other shoe”?

What if you plan for what you know is coming and trust that you’ll handle it if something unexpected comes up (this might include asking for help).

As you know, I love planning. And yes, I can’t plan for everything that might happen. But I know that I have my plans and priorities laid out, and that does a lot toward handling the unexpected.

What does this look like for you and your business? What plans and priorities do you need to be clear about so you don’t get caught up waiting for the other shoe to drop?

Reach out if you want help with this!