In Part I, we talked about how to identify the bad habits we have created in order to avoid acting. If you haven’t read it, please do. I promised you next we would talk about how to actually have a bias for action. So, you want to know how to stop avoiding and start acting? For the longest time I wanted to know the same, so what did I do…you guessed it, research….but it wasn’t an avoidance tactic this time! Holy moly!
Would you like to know what I learned? Here are my top 5 tips for creating a bias for action:
- Like the Nike ads say, “Just do it!” Don’t give yourself time to think. When the idea hits- act immediately, don’t give self-doubt time to take hold. Sometimes taking action is just hard and it’s going to be that way. It is that way for everyone.
- Have goals and write them down. Put your goals where you can see them, if you can. This is good for small and big goals alike. A small goal may be keeping the sink clear of dishes. When you walk by your sink with a few dishes, you may be inclined to avoid doing them or say you will do it later. When you walk by and you happen to see your goal posted on the fridge to keep the sink clean, you may be more inclined to turn around and go back and do those dishes.
- Make a plan. Yep, planning is a great way to take action, but here is the deal…you don’t have to have every step and every action laid out. This is where many, including myself can take action and turn it into avoidance. It has something to do with the perfectionism bug so many of us have. The key here is to figure out what the first step is, and figure out how to take it. As other steps or ideas about how to reach your goal come to you, take note and add them to your list of ideas or plan of action.
- Make to do list, but not your typical to do lists. Either the night before or first thing in the morning, take some time and decide what your key tasks for the day are, there should only be a few, three or four at max. These key tasks should be items that propel you towards your major objectives. In The Productivity Project, Chris Baily, talks about how easy it is to get caught up doing tasks that really aren’t being productive.
- Take action on little things. You know what your goals are, and I bet in your list of big and small goals you have some little things you can address. By making yourself take action on the little things daily, it becomes easier to take action on the bigger things. This doesn’t mean little things like checking email repeatedly, this means little things you otherwise wouldn’t do. Little things that further creating new habits. We can sometimes trick ourselves with mindless tasks that make us think we are being productive, when we are really not.
And here is a bonus tip…
- Be aware of your avoidance tactics. Knowing what your avoidance tactics are makes it easier to notice when you find yourself wanting to slip into old habits. Don’t do it. If you feel yourself falling into one of your bad habits used to avoid, go to step one and just do it. Or like Mel Robbin’s suggests, use her Five Second Rule.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Maybe you have some tips you can share on how you make yourself get moving and do hard things? If so, I would love to hear about them. Do you practice any of the above tips? What are your thoughts? Do they help you?