How To Get More Done

by PJ McClure on February 14, 2013

“It’s not that I’m having trouble forming a vision for my life. It’s that I have so many things that I want to do, I’m overwhelmed and don’t get any of them done!”

“So is that what you want your life to look like?”

“Of course not!”

“Then you still don’t have a vision for your life.”

One of the key advantages I developed when I began to understand the differences between success and mediocrity was that I seemed to accomplish three to four times as much as others. The more I understood and implemented the Seven Elements of Personal Choice that make up our mindsets, the more my productivity swelled.

Friends, family, and colleagues asked how I made such dramatic strides and I began to tell them what I was learning and doing. They made big strides too. After a while, I thought I should move on to “the next level” and start finding new ways to get more done. What I found was astonishing.

After about a year of trying to “get more done,” I figured out that I apparently didn’t know crap! I was noticibly less productive than before.

In a moment of despondence and reflection, I started writing down everything I ‘knew’ about mindset and its impact on our lives. Then I looked at the past year of my life to find where those things had done me wrong. What I saw was humbling and exciting.

Of all the things I had discovered about mindset, the things I credited for my wonderful success and productivity, weren’t there. Intellectually I had them with me, but I had gotten so close to them that I couldn’t see I wasn’t implementing. I had stopped DOING what I KNEW.

Now that it has happened to me (more than once) it’s much easier for me to see it when talking to others. I meet very few people who don’t tell me, “Mindset and all the stuff you teach… yeah, I know all of that already.” And still yet, their life and business don’t show the signs of someone who is doing any of it.

If you know that 2+2=4, but instead you write 9, you aren’t doing what you know. We have to be willing to check ourselves and let others check us as well to make sure we’re being true to ourselves. Please remember that as I answer this question from the Mindset Community.

David says, “The thing that is keeping me awake at night is getting everything that I want to do accomplished.”

Can anyone feel David’s pain? I sure can.

Fortunately, there are some very tactical methods for getting on the accomplishment train. There are also some traps to avoid along the way. We’ll hit each quickly.

The first thing to do is write down “everything” you want to accomplish. I mean it. Write it all down. We play a cruel trick on ourselves when we hold it all in our heads.

We try to consciously hold on to everything out of fear that we’ll forget something. Stress, anxiety, loss of sleep… all of that comes from holding things mentally. Write it down.

There is also another advantage to writing it all down. Distance.

Step away from your list a little. Emotionally, that is. Once things are out in front of us, we can evaluate them more clearly. This is critical because we need that emotional distance to get a firm grip on our best path forward.

Ask yourself, “why.” Why do I want to accomplish this thing? Ask it for everyone of the things on your list. And don’t wimp out on the answer. We want a firm, important, and truthful answer. If you can’t come up with a legitimate reason for doing something, move it way down or completely off of the list.

Prioritize according to your vision. If you haven’t developed a vision for your life, now’s the time. You can get a feel for building a vision here and you can get it in a stranglehold using Flip the SWITCH.

Your vision is going to give you context for evaluating the ‘everything’ stuff. If something on the list doesn’t jive with your vision. Get rid of it to make room for the things that matter.

Seriously! Why on earth do we continually load ourselves up with stuff that doesn’t matter? Scrape it off and improve your odds of accomplishing something worthy.

Plan your work. When something strikes your mind as a cliché that is the first signal that you should pay attention. Having a plan before beginning is a proverb, yet so many of us jump in without the slightest idea of what we’re doing.

I’m not suggesting that you have every single step mapped out before taking the first one. Every step of a journey reveals new things to consider. However, we need a general purpose in place that guides our decision-making. With the general purpose in place, we can plan our daily activities and distinguish between valuable tasks and busy work.

At the end of every day, evaluate what you accomplished and write out your punch list for the next day. This one practice can change your life instantly.

Work your plan. Do I hear another cliché? I took the time to make an action list based on my purpose, so it only makes sense to tackle that list… right? Some of the items will not be exciting (more on that in a minute), but if they are vital to accomplishing our goal, they need to be done.

Ultimately, you have to trust that your plan will yield the results you seek. In As a man thinketh, James Allen wrote,

“Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that the right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about the right results.”

A couple of traps to avoid

Don’t talk your energy away. Every goal-setting guru I’ve ever heard talks about the value of accountability. They continue by saying that we should tell someone what our goal is and how we plan to accomplish it. I’d like to invite you to swim against the current on this one.

When we have an idea that becomes a goal, there is a massive amount of energy behind it. That energy needs to find an outlet. When we begin talking about our goals, the tendency is to communicate with great passion and detail. In doing so, we create the illusion of accomplishment and spend our energy without result.

Instead, keep quiet about your goal until you’re 75-80% done. Let your energy escape in the form of progress and tangible results. Then you can tell people what you’re up to and results will speak for themselves.

Avoid shiny objects. Maybe the most devastating of all entrepreneurial ailments is distraction. By nature, we are constantly seeking new and inventive ways to do things. And it can strike at any time.

“New ways to drive traffic… an undiscovered method for massive sales conversion… how you can get rich selling llama’s milk from the comfort of your home…” distractions abound. Stay focused and complete your projects.

One finished, mediocre idea will make more more of an impact on the world than four half-finished, brilliant ideas. I’ve done the math.

Write down your flashes of brilliance for the next project and finish what you’re in the middle of.

Getting more done is not a magical formula or mythical place to visit. It’s in your control every day, so take these steps and make more happen for you.

Be your best,

PJ

Anonymous December 22, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Where was this article when I woke up at 4a.m. this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep??? Just saw it now. I actually kicked my butt and made myself get the bulk of my daily list done, but seriously, I’m pushing 50 (ok, 46) and can’t deal with the sleep deprivation anymore! Ug!

Thomas Hall December 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm

I liked this article. Accomplishing everything is a daunting task. We were all raised with the philosophy that we can be anything we want to be… come to find out that the list of options is often longer than the time available, especially if I ever want to be good at something. Also, I found that even if I was really interested in something, I found out after trying it out that I really wasn’t very good at it, even after a lot of time and effort. I found a system of tests that revealed my potential for particular fields, it started when I took Strengths Finder, but just snowballed from there. I was so excited to finally articulate things about my personality and strengths that I always “knew”, but couldn’t understand. Now I do. Maybe it could help you (readers) like it helped me! http://www.PurposeProfile.com

I say that because you wrote above, ” If you haven’t developed a vision for your life, now’s the time. You can get a feel for building a vision here and you can get it in a stranglehold using Flip the SWITCH.” I love this line. Developing a vision for your life is so critical! But a vision based on what?! My vision for life is based on my strengths.

My life purpose: Find purpose in your ability to find excitement in variety and complexity‚ I will use high levels of mental activity to think things through and generate contagious enthusiasm with those around me. My purpose in life is manifested through intense task oriented follow-through and communicated through my outstanding people skills.

http://www.PurposeProfile.com

Susan McKenzie December 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm

PJ, I concur with Denny… this article arrived at just the right time! I had a dream one night where I was learning to stretch time and get a lot more done, but it didn’t have anything to do with typical time management principles… I’m going to put even more focus on your Big 7! I’m grateful for your coaching!

Anonymous December 21, 2010 at 3:09 pm

PJ, This couldn’t have come at a better time…speaks directly to where my husband is at right now. He owns/operates his own successful company (over 25 yrs) and is in the process of changing directions to begin a new company. He totally understands the importance of having a positive mindset but from time to time gets a case of what I call “not-enough-time-itus” (remnant from childhood) which unfortunately can quickly become a whole host of negative thoughts UGH! I am ordering your book today…I think this is just what he needs to cure this once and for all!
Thanks!

Happy Holidays!~denny hagel
http://www.MissingSecretToParenting.com

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