I always want to do more than might actually seem possible. If you’re anything like me, you do too. Unfortunately, this sort of mentality can be paralyzing. Self-doubt creeps in, and thoughts like “well, if I can’t do all of it, why should I do any of it?” rise to the surface.
I started thinking about this a few weeks ago after a short Twitter conversation with Brian Koppelman. Check the IMDB link if you want some additional information on Brian, but he is currently a writer, producer, director, father, husband, and host of one of my favorite podcasts, The Moment, among other roles, I'm sure. Brian appears to have so much going on, I am constantly amazed at how he gets it all done. I decided to take a deeper look at doing everything I want to do and how I can put a system in place.
So how do you get it all done?
Look, we all have things we have to get done. Sometimes these jobs get in the way of doing what we want to do. I think it’s better to get the mandatory stuff out of the way, rather than having it hang over my head. That’s the main reason why I try to work out early in the morning. I don’t really want to get up at 5:00 am. However, I know that if I do, the rest of my day is set up that much more for success. I suggest structuring your day in such a way that you get the things you have to do out of the way first to leave the rest of your time for the things you want to do. Of course, it’s important to stay flexible too. Routines will be broken; be willing and able to adapt.
So once you get your mandatory work out of the way, what do you do all that time you’ve blocked off for yourself? Well, do you want to spend it deciding what to do next, or do you want to actually get started and use that time effectively? Personally, I think the less time you can think about what's next and the more time you can spend actually doing what's next, the better. I highly recommend taking the guesswork out of the equation, and invest in setting up an organizational system. It really doesn’t matter what you use, as long as it works for you. My personal preference is using David Allen’s Getting Things Done combined with The Secret Weapon to implement Allen’s system using Evernote.
Don’t half-ass it. No one ever said doing everything you want to do is going to be easy. Some days you’re not going to feel like it. Some days you’re going to be tired. Some days it’s going to seem impossible. Whatever you’re feeling, if you’re not committed it’s going to be that much easier to find excuses. The fear of failure is actually much scarier than failure itself.
This might be the most important piece of the entire strategy. You’re not going to follow the routine, maintain the organization, and honor your commitment if you're not enjoying it. Let’s be realistic though. This doesn’t mean you’re going to enjoy every step, and, honestly, you’re not supposed to. So how do you power through when you’re not finding enjoyment? Well...
Having a vision is what creates your enjoyment during the most difficult of times. Being able to see the long view is a necessity. Without an end goal in place, progress is not measurable. Knowing that you’re getting closer to your goal, no matter how small the steps, provides those feelings of personal satisfaction and pride.
It would be foolish to believe that you have the ability to accomplish everything you want to accomplish on your own. Take a look at some of the most successful/accomplished people in the world. They all have teams behind them. World leaders have cabinets, executives have management teams, celebrities have a plethora of people working behind the scenes. Don't be afraid to ask for help. In fact, embrace it. View your life as a collaboration. Cherish those people who are willing to help and support you. However, be sure make the distinction between supportive people and “yes men”. Take a page from Abraham Lincoln and ask for help from people who disagree with you. Doing this will simply give you a more complete view and more tools to get more done.
I’m always looking to improve my productivity and personal growth. I’d love to read some of your your favorite tips and techniques in the comments!