Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting It Done

Do you ever feel as if you just aren’t getting anything done? “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” Here are three simple steps I try to use to guide my work.

1. Just DO it.

Sometimes we just have to decide to go for it.

A “road warrior” stopped at a small town motel in the American Midwest. "How's business?" he asked the owner.

"Not very good," the tired looking man answered.

The customer nodded sympathetically. "Well, what's your next step? Do you think you’ll look for ways to get your name out there to build up business? Or are you thinking you may have to close?"

"Well," said the owner dryly, "I've never made enough in this motel to stick with it, but I've never lost enough to get out of it. I'm hoping to do one or the other this year."

All he has needed these years was to make a decision – one way or the other. Sometimes we just have to decide to do it.

2. Do it NOW.

One farmer decided to raise a few sheep. He bought a fine ewe which soon gave birth to two lambs. However, had no pen in which to keep his sheep and a wolf ate one of the lambs. The farmer remarked, "Well, I guess I'd rather have one fat lamb than two skinny ones" and decided to accept his fate and not build a fence this year.

A few days later the wolf killed and ate the second lamb. This time the farmer reflected, "I supposed it's all for the best. Now the ewe won't be bothered with them.” With no lambs left, he again chose to wait on building the fence.

A couple weeks later the ewe was eaten up and the farmer became more pensive. "I know it's all for the best, but I'll be darned if I can figure out how.”

I find peace in learning to accept what cannot be changed. But there is also wisdom in doing what needs to be done WHEN it needs to be done.

3. But do it RIGHT.

One poet put it like this:

"If a task is once begun, never leave until it's done.
Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all."

I think a case can be made that not everything has to be done well all of the time. But more often I have to ask myself, “If I don't have time to do it right, when I will find time to do it over?”

I have a friend who likes to say, “Slow is fast.” What she means is that if I will slow down and do the thing right, I won’t have to redo it later. Slow is fast.

For me, it helps to just do it, do it now and try to do it right. And then maybe celebrate when it’s done.

--  Steve Goodier

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