Do Something Now!

I have an almost overwhelming amount of stuff to do right now. It’s all really interesting work, and I’m happy doing it – there’s just a lot of it right now. When I find myself in situations like this, I often end up paralysed, which makes things even worse. That is the situation that I was in yesterday morning, when I ran across a post by Julien Smith (who bewilderingly seems to get less credit for Trust Agents than Chris Brogan does) called Life Doesn’t Start Tomorrow.

Julien’s post really gave me a kick in the pants. In it he asks everyone to take 5 minutes to do something that they’ve been putting off. So I did some revisions on a paper that has been in my inbox for a couple of weeks. Then I went to talk to my co-author about it, and he then submitted it to a journal. It took more than 5 minutes, but it was a huge relief to get it off my plate. Then I went to talk with John about another paper that we’re working on, and we figured out what we’re doing with it. He’s submitting it today. Then I got a new hot water heater ordered and scheduled some maintenance on my car. Then I did a complete rewrite of another paper I’m working on with John and sent it to him. We’ll get it submitted over the weekend. After going home, I wrote a blog post (another one exhorting people to action!). Next, I reviewed a consulting report for a project that I’m working on, sent it back to my collaborator and we sent it to the client. I finished the day by doing some reading with our new kittens Wallace and Schumpeter.

It was the most productive day I’ve had in a long time – and it was all a cascade from that first job that I got done at Julien’s prompting.

So today, I’m going to do the same thing for you that he did for me – I’m asking you to go do something. Here is how he finished his post:

Q: What is a five-minute action you can take today that will make tomorrow better? I don’t care if it’s cleaning your house or writing one paragraph. You’re going to do it now.

A: Drop everything right now, act on that for five minutes, and then come back and tell me what you did.

I am like your conscience, except I don’t accept bullshit. So I expect you to comment here today, or you clearly aren’t actually reading.

Do it now.

It worked for me – today is much better than yesterday now that I have all that stuff done. You can do the same – so it’s the same deal:

Take action for five minutes NOW – then report back.

(cartoon by Hugh MacLeod – you can subscribe to his great newsletter here, but only after you’ve done your five minutes of action…)

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “Do Something Now!

  1. Actually, I worked really hard all day, got my free online course launched, and am reading blogs for relaxation. I don’t need to drop everything and do something.

  2. Hi, I’ve started to create a plan for getting things done using Thinking Rock, haven’t got as far as collecting thoughts, processing etc but doing for everything and hope to have done by end of the weekend, so can get going. What I particularly like is the context, especially when I try and do those 5 min things but realise the context is wrong, not just a lack of motivation or willpower on my part. This is as far as I’ve got:

  3. That seems like a good start Nicola. I think hay Thinking Rock is a pretty good GTD tool – I agree with you on the value of context. Good luck getting it going!

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