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10 Rules for Effective Action

I’m grateful to Leo Babauta for the following insights into becoming focused on effective action.

Far too often we get stuck in a quagmire of doubt, inaction, distractions and planning that stops us from moving forward. When we do we can easily lose sight of what’s important and how to actually accomplish anything meaningful. Here are are few “rules” to think about when this happens to you (as you know it will).

1. Don’t Overthink – Too much thinking can leave you “circling”. Some thinking is good, indeed vital but be clear why your doing it! Don’t get stuck thinking, just DO.
2. Just Start – All the planning in the world will get you nowhere. You need to take that first step no matter how tentative.
3. Progress not Perfection – Perfection is the enemy of action. Don’t let perfect stop you from doing. You can turn a bad draft into a good one, but you can’t turn no draft into anything! So get going.
4. Don’t mistake motion for action – Furious activity doesn’t mean you’re doing anything. It probably means you’re doing too may things at once. Stop, slow down and focus.
5. Know your MIT’s (most important tasks) – Pick the one most important task you need to do today, clear the distractions and focus on it. Exclusively. Then repeat.
6. Meetings aren’t action – This is a common management mistake They hold meetings to get things done. Most meetings simply get in the way of doing. See Meetings Bloody Meetings for more details.
7. Talking isn’t action (usually) – Talking is just talking. Communication is necessary but don’t mistake it for actual action.
8. Planning isn’t action – Yes you need to plan so that you are clear about what you are doing. Just get to the actual action as soon as you can.
9. Reading about isn’t action – Ironic , I know that you’re reading an article about action. Don’t make a habit of it. Get to work instead.
10. Occasionally inaction is better – Maybe even more ironic, but if you find yourself with your wheels spinning or doing more harm than good, rethink whether the action is even necessary. Better still do this at outset!

What do you think? What are your tips for moving from paralysis into action?

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