April 30th, 2007


Just Do Something, Already

Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov

This week, I find myself with a ridiculously long to-do list; and I’ve gotten a little stressed out over how to get everything done.  When there’s just so much to do, I tend to get a tad overwhelmed.  Unfortunately, that leads to paralysis, and nothing gets done.  Obviously, the times when I have the most to do are also the times when it is the most detrimental not to do anything!  So, today I’m doing Something Good by following my little mantra of “just do something, already.”  (O.K., it’s really my mom’s mantra, and her version is much less like a Nike slogan and a little more like something you’d hear in a bar frequented by sailors and truck drivers; but I thought I’d clean it up for this forum.)  Also, I seem to have a need for horror movie metaphors today.


Just do something, already.


Someone once put it much more eloquently when he said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Right now, my to-do list feels like it’s right about exactly a thousand miles long!  I could sit here on my couch and lament about how much I have to do.  (In fact, I have.)  There are deadlines to meet, and phone calls to make, and articles to be written, and yard work to do, and conversations to have, and . . . believe me, it goes on like this for a while.  I’ll bet a lot of you have a similar looking list.


After a bout of panic and some gnashing of teeth, however, I realize that just worrying about all of this stuff is not helping in the slightest bit.  I generally run into trouble because when I finally do get up the nerve to take care of one thing, I’m still feeling frantic over everything that I’m not doing at that precise moment.  It gets so hard to choose what to do because it means that so many other things are just looming ahead like zombies in a foggy graveyard.  And everyone knows that zombies just want to eat your brains and turn you into one of them.


But sitting here freaking out is sort of like hiding in the bathroom rather than running out the front door once the monsters are already in the house.  Everyone knows they’re going to break down the door and suck out your brain.  We don’t even feel sorry for you because you gave up and hid in a window-less room instead of making a beeline for the car and driving through their reanimated asses on your way out of Dodge.  Rather than cowering in the darkness with nothing but a pair of nail clippers for protection, it’s time to just do something, already!


It’s time to pick one thing off of that thousand-mile-long list and do it.  I found that some of the items on my to-do list would literally take me less than 15 minutes.  So, I picked one and just did it.  Wow.  Now I don’t have to worry about making that phone call anymore.  It’s done.  That feels pretty good.  Hmm.  What else could I get done?  Even if I don’t get everything on the list finished, I’ve still started my journey.  Only 999.9 miles to go.  But, hey, I’ll get there.  (If you get really into it, you can even try doing three things.)


I’m curious.  What types of things do you do to improve your productivity?  I’m definitely looking for suggestions! 




I had a few goals in mind with this particular post.  First, I’m trying to remind myself of how easy it actually is to get things done once you, you know, start them.  Secondly, I’m hoping to encourage you to do the same today.  Third, Ben at The Instigator Blog has challenged folks with a group writing project about productivity.  Since I’ve personally been working on ramping up my own productivity, I thought I’d go ahead and share my number one productivity secret.  Thanks, Ben, for doing Something Good by compiling this list of ideas!  And my final reason for the post: writing it was on my to-do list.