The Best Plans Are the Ones That Result in Action

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

How many times during the day do you do something completely off the cuff, with no plan at all other than to get it done? You visualize the end product, and just dive in, figuring things out as you go. I used to do that with woodworking all the time. I never worked from a set of plans. I’d just imagine what I wanted to build, then head to the shop and start sawing boards. Okay, I measured first.

We have an Amish-style clock hanging by the front door, made of cherry that I bought with no concept of what I planned to do with it. I just liked the wood. It was about this time of year, and I came up with the idea of making my wife a clock for Christmas. Of all the things I ever built, that one is my favorite. I love the way cherry ages with time.

I can look at that clock and see every mistake I made along the way. There weren’t many, because I put my best effort into it. But there was a little sapwood on the top piece that never aged like the rest, and I always planned to put another top piece on it. When I told my wife, she dared me to touch anything. She loves it just the way it is, and I’m not sure she could find a single mistake if she looked for it. She only sees the beauty, and the love with which it was made.

So, take it down a notch. Instead of thinking of the great creations you can make that will leave other people in awe, think of the simple things you do every day that require nothing more than a solid effort on your part. You could plan every step from start to finish, but planning just fills up an otherwise clean sheet of paper. Nothing happens until you get up and get to work.

And most things are really that simple. Just get started, and the rest will flow until the job is complete. It’s that first step that always seems to get in the way. Maybe it’s procrastination, or maybe it’s other legitimately important priorities. But until we carve out the time and actually get started, it’ll be just a passing thought.

If you have to write anything on paper, let it be a checklist of things you plan to do. And as you write that list, do it with the commitment that you won’t go to bed until everything on the list is done. A speaker at our last conference referred to that as “earning your pillow.” And let me tell you, nothing feels better than snuggling up in bed at night knowing everything you planned to do is done.

It’s easy to do the easy things. Grab a sandwich on the way to work instead of making one at home. Send a few emails. Pick up the extra shoes by the front door and put them away. Wipe down the stove. Go to the drive-thru to pick up a prescription. We can find all kinds of time to fill our day. But do you find the same time to do the things that really matter?

Earn your pillow. Make a list and commit to it. Check things off instead of crossing them off. You’ll probably find more than enough time if you just get busy instead of thinking about it. Prioritize your list and tackle the big ones first. That way, when you run out of steam later in the day, all that’s left is to pick up those shoes and wipe down the stove.

Do that, and you’ll find yourself accomplishing much more than ever before and moving closer to your goals with each passing day. Procrastination will become a thing of the past, and success will become a natural part of life. Then all you have to do is dream a little bigger and see what you can accomplish next.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Just Git ‘Er Done!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

It’s the weekend again, and for most of us that means a couple of days to relax and rejuvenate before we have to get up and face next week. For others, it’s the two busiest days of the week, working to take care of all of us who don’t feel like cooking, want to be entertained, or need to go shopping.

And for some of us, it means tackling that big project we’ve been putting off, simply because there’s never enough time during the week. I know people who actually take vacation just to stay home and work. That doesn’t sound like much of a vacation to me. And it can make the weekend feel like it didn’t even happen. Seems to me there has to be an easier way.

But more often than not, we get to the end of these big projects and realize they weren’t quite as big as they seemed. Sometimes, it’s just the thought of it that was so daunting. Once we get started, things move along a little more quickly than we’d thought, and before long we’re finished with time to spare. Right. “And they all lived happily ever after.”

With me, projects always seem bigger than they were supposed to be. A simple faucet change on the sink turns into a major plumbing renovation because things that haven’t been touched in years are now being … well, touched. Throw in a little rust and corrosion, and things start to break. Big things. The ones that take five times as long to fix as the original repair and cost ten times as much.

Thankfully, I don’t have to mess with plumbing that often. And most other jobs around the house are pretty straightforward. If putting in a flower bed is the project of the week, you can pretty much plan the entire project and it’ll unfold as you’d imagined. Dig, pull weeds, dig again, plant flowers, dig again, pull more weeds, plant more flowers, lather, rinse, and repeat.

More often than not, our biggest hurdle is just getting started. And let me tell you, when that time comes, I get busier than I’ve ever been – doing anything BUT what I was supposed to be doing. I get up and make breakfast. For everybody. Then I wash dishes. Then I go to the store and lay out all the stuff I’ll need. Then I go back to the store for something I forgot. Then I make lunch. And on and on it goes.

Does that sound like anybody you know? I think most of us do that to some degree. By the time we get started, our brain is saying, “It’s too late – you’ll never get this done. You should have started earlier. Now you’ll just have to wait and do it next weekend.” It’s a rational solution to the fact that we just didn’t do what we knew we needed to do when we needed to do it. It’s an excuse.

And really, all we needed to do was just get started. Get all the materials ahead of time and have them ready to go. Get up early and have a light breakfast. Then put on your work clothes, roll up your sleeves, and dig in. Odds are you’ll get it done sooner than you think, and now you can sit back and enjoy not only a little rest, but the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’ve truly earned it.

All too often, we let things slide that we could just as easily get done. We make them out to be bigger than they really are. We come up with a dozen other things we have to do first. And, more often than not, these are not things we need to do on the job. They’re things we need to do for ourselves. They’re the things that stand between us and whatever goals we’re trying to accomplish.

The loftier the goal and the longer it’ll take to reach it, the easier it becomes to put things off. But the longer we put things off, the greater the chance we’ll never get started in the first place. And five years from now, we’ll be left with the reality that, if we’d started five years ago, we’d be enjoying whatever it is we wanted in the first place.

If there’s something you want to do, something that’ll bring you closer to your own goals, just do it. Set aside the time and dig in. You’ll probably find that it was a lot easier than you’d thought and, armed with that small success, you’ll be ready to take on the next one. Then simply lather, rinse, and repeat. That goal is closer than you think.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Excuses Are Free – And Worth Every Penny

Good morning, and happy Monday! I hope your day is starting off well.

Okay, so for those of you who may be wondering, I’m not going to dodge the issue of all the work I was supposed to do this weekend and talk about puppies and butterflies. Both are a lot more enjoyable than the work I had on my list for the weekend and would be my usual go-to when I missed a goal that I’d already told everybody about and had to come up with something quick.

I don’t have to. I did exactly what I said I’d do this weekend. My office now occupies a freshly cleaned space in the basement and the old office is now a bedroom. And, because I know my cousin won’t let me off the hook on this, I got the new toilet seat installed. Now I need to go to work so I can get some rest.

Once I got started, it didn’t take all that long. Don’t get me wrong, we were still working on it past 10:00 last night. But that’s how things seem to go. You put it off until there’s no other option, and once you get started you find energy you didn’t know you had. And all those interruptions that previously kept you from working become just another part of the job.

I guess it’s normal to put off something unpleasant, especially when it cuts into our “me” time. But one look around my basement and it’s obvious what that kind of procrastination creates. (If I made you think the whole basement is cleaned, think again!) The work we need to do never just sits there and waits. It multiplies. Meanwhile, we’re just delaying the inevitable.

And I won’t lie. At the start of the weekend, I had a mental list of reasons that maybe this wouldn’t be the best time to get that work done. My wife must have sensed my lack of enthusiasm, because she started making excuses for me. On the other hand, that may have just been a built-in defense mechanism. It’s hard to get upset with somebody for being lazy when you gave them permission.

Now, as I face the coming week and the things I need to get done, excuses pretty much go right out the window. Especially when it comes to those seemingly minor tasks I always seem to avoid. You know, the ones that nobody is paying me to do, so nobody can complain if I wait another day. Nobody, that is, except me.

There are things I need to do for my personal goals, aside from my job and cleaning and moving heavy furniture up and down a flight of stairs. Those things will always be there. And, I can always use those things as an excuse when I don’t work on my personal goals. Come on! I’m tired! Is a little rest too much to ask? Besides, it’s not like I can’t do it tomorrow! Sound familiar?

And, the truth is, it really can be done tomorrow. Or the day after, or next week, or next month. But meanwhile, that dream sits in a corner and collects dust. Or worse yet, it waits for somebody else to come along who wants it more. And we’ll find an excuse or two along the way. But not one of those excuses will get us any closer to our goal.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a picture of a motorhome hanging over my desk. I’ve seen it up close. I’ve sat in the driver’s seat, reclined on the sofa, stood in the shower, and checked out the fridge. And, in my mind’s eye, I’ve seen those miles of open road and beautiful scenic views unfold through the windshield as we explore yet another new destination.

I want that motorhome. I want it so bad I can taste it. But what I have to decide is which I want more … the motorhome, or the excuses. Because I can’t have both. Just like I couldn’t have an office and a third bedroom occupying the same small space. In the end, it all comes down to a choice. Which is more important?

You have dreams. If there’s something you need to do in order to accomplish those goals, then do it. This book I’m reading points out that the purpose of working toward a goal isn’t as much to accomplish that specific goal, but to turn you into the kind of person who can accomplish any goal. Likewise, doing what needs to be done turns you into the kind of person who gets everything done.

More often than not, the things we need to do aren’t monumental. They’re simply a series of small tasks that, taken in succession, lead to success. Find those small tasks and start knocking them out. The results may not be immediately visible, but with each step you’re that much closer to your goal.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Procrastinate Tomorrow – Get Busy Today!

Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.

This will be a busy weekend for me. For the past several weeks, I’ve been staring at a job that needs to be done, and now it’s time to pay the piper. I’m starting to realize if I’d broken it down into a list of smaller tasks, I’d probably be done by now. After 61 years, you’d think I’d have learned.

We’ve talked about this before – how we tend to put off those bigger jobs because we can’t set aside enough time to do the whole thing, so we don’t really do anything. Meanwhile, time marches on until the day comes when it has to be done, all at once. Makes you wonder, if you didn’t have time to work on this a month ago, what makes you think you’ll find the time to do it now?

It’s simple. you’ll find the time because you have to. It’s crunch time, and there’s no other option. I’d like to say we all do this, because it would make me feel a little less lazy. But the fact is, there are some people who don’t put things off until the last minute. If it’s a smaller job, they get it done. No excuses. With bigger jobs, they break them up and do a little each day.

I tend to stand back and look at the whole mountain, thinking of how much time and effort it’ll take to get to the other side. There are things I need to do for my business, and from a distance, they can look pretty daunting. I want to write a book, but that’s going to take some time. I need to clean up and reorganize my basement, but there’s a LOT of stuff down there to move, put away, or pitch.

And what happens? I find myself sitting here on yet another Friday morning thinking about how I can get some of this done, when the answer is really simple. Just do it, the same as I do eating broccoli … break it down into bite-sized pieces, pinch my nose, and have a bite. Do that enough times and the job is done.

My business goals can’t be achieved in a day. It’ll take a long series of small successes to get where I need to be. My book can’t be written all at once, even if I stay up all night. But if I had been putting in an hour a day, the same as I do with my morning posts, how far along would I be? And with the basement, it’s pretty simple. The dumpster can handle one extra bag of trash each week. So, fill it.

And here’s the real problem. Procrastination becomes a habit. At first, it’s pretty simple. You don’t have time to rebuild the car’s engine this weekend. It’ll have to wait. And that’s one of those jobs that truly has to be done all at once. But habits don’t stop at the big stuff. They just keep growing. Which explains why I’ve had a new toilet seat sitting in a box for the past month.

A toilet seat? Seriously? How long do you think it would take me to replace that? Well, far less time than I’ve spent re-attaching the old one every time it decides to come loose. But that only happens when you’re in the bathroom for another reason – something that truly is more pressing. And by the time you’re done, and your hands are washed, who wants to mess around with toilet seats?

Do you see a trend here? My wife does. In fact, it’s become such a way of life that she doesn’t even say much about it anymore. But it’s an easy trap to fall into. It’s also a pretty easy habit to break. Habits are nothing more than a routine to which we’ve become accustomed. Start a new job and you’ll learn a new routine pretty quickly. We can do the same in every area of our lives.

Most experts say it takes about three weeks to form a new habit. That’s 21 days. Unless you’re in military basic training, in which case new habits come in a matter of hours. But if you decide to make a change and commit to it, within three weeks it’ll be something you do as a matter of habit. Do it long enough, and it’ll take the same committed effort to fall back into your old habit.

Okay, in my case, maybe “effort” isn’t the operative word. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to say “tomorrow.” But the point is, we can either live with the things we’d like to change, or change them. You may not achieve your ultimate goal in three weeks, but you can become the person who is able to attain that goal. And, when you think about it, that has to happen first anyway.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved