Monday, January 18, 2010

How to Get Things Done

I discovered a long time ago, that a wish or desire is not enough to get something done. Every accomplishment starts with an idea, of course -- but the idea, alone, won't make it happen.

Even a very strong "want to" won't bring the follow through. If you want to get something done, you have to DO something about it ahead of time!

1. What Gets Scheduled Gets Done.
The other day, I shared a great vacation idea with my wife, Cathy. "Hey, we oughta go to Florida next January!" (I think the arctic temps had something to do with that inspiration.)

"When are you thinking we should do this?" Cathy wondered.

"I dunno. Just sometime in January -- or maybe February . . ."

Cathy replied, "The only way that's going to happen is if it gets on the calendar."

For years, I've been saying I want to write a book, but never seemed to have the time to write it. This year, however, it's different. I'm really writing the book!

How did things change? I scheduled a definite writing time each week -- and it's working!

If you want to get it done, get it on the schedule!

2. What Gets Planned Gets Done.
I have a lot of ideas, and most of them don't pan out. The primary reason most of my ideas end up on the scrap heap is because they are not accompanied by a good plan.

An idea is like a semi trailor. The plan is the truck. If the trailor's not hitched to the truck, it's not going anywhere!

My brother, Tim, bought a semi trailor a while back, and put it behind his house. It became his wonderful storage shed! You can find lots of fascinating treasures in there! Unhitched ideas are like that. Instead of taking the payload down the road, they become storage sheds for interesting and unused possibilities.

If you want to achieve something, you have to make a plan! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

You'll end up like Sir John Harvey Jones who observed, "Planning is unnatural. It's much more fun to get on with it. The real benefit of planning is that failure comes as a complete surprise and is not preceded by months of worry."

3. What Gets Started Gets Done
Well, maybe. I have a lot of unfinished projects sitting around my house. Getting started doesn't necessarily get it done but I can guarantee this -- You'll ever get it done if you don't get it started!

A mountain of work won't disappear by staring at it, or wishing it away. You jut have to roll up your sleeves, jump in and take it on! My friend, Robyn Bjork, who recently climbed Mount Kilimajaro remarked, "You get to the top of big mountains by taking one little step at a time."

4. What Gets our Attention Gets Done
At our church, we celebrate missions. We love to touch the world from Hayward. It's thrilling to me to see people bringing a blessing to their neighbors and the nations. We make a big deal out of it. Hey everybody, pay attention! This is good stuff!

There are a few other important areas, however, where we've fallen short. (No church is perfect.) I've come to realize that we get more of what we recognize, applaud and celebrate.

Note, this works on the negative side as well. For instance, if a school teacher focuses on misbehavior in the classroom, she'll get much more of it. It would pay her better to pay attention and recognize the behaviors she WANTS to see displayed by her students. Then, she will get more of that!

5. What Gets Appreciated Gets Done.
People want to be wanted, they need to be needed, and they certainly appreciate being appreciated. A primary task for the effective leader is to involve people and then walk around saying, "Thank you!"

6. What Gets Finished Gets Done.
Although starting is half the job -- finishing is the other half. The job is not over until it's really been completed. It's time to finish it with a flourish! Roll up your sleeves, and get it done!


  1. Anonymous7:02 PM

    That is just what I needed to read! Thanks, I can apply it immediately... I have 3 or 4 'invisible' storage trailers in the yard! I'm gonna hook em up to a truck!!!!!!!

    Maine Tina

  2. Anonymous7:28 AM

    So many Christians are like that trailer in your brother's back yard. They are content to just sit there and let the ideas collect. It takes effort, good hard work, to accomplish something.

    This reminds me so much of today's world. They want to sit and complain about the government while they themselves sit and take advantage of all the freebies instead of becoming productive adults.