Urgency and Action: The Best Friends of Progress

Have you ever noticed that when you have a lot of time to do something, it usually doesn’t get done?  Or worse, you give yourself more time than you need to accomplish something and you waste precious minutes working slowly.  Don’t get me wrong.  I know there are times when you should think before you act, but the menial tasks of day-to-day living just don’t deserve more time than what’s necessary to accomplish them.  And the important things don’t deserve your whole life to get done.  It’s time to find some urgency and move forward with your life.

Urgency: It’ll Get Ya Going

Remember that deep gut feeling you had when you were in school and you realized you had a big project or paper due the next day?  Your teacher was droning on and on about Atticus Finch and Boo Radly as if she’d been fathered by them when just as you were nodding off, you heard “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah PAGE, blah, blah PAPER blah DUE TOMORROW.”  You perk up and whisper to your buddy.  “Hey, what did she say?”

“She said make sure to include a cover page on your paper that’s due tomorrow.”

“Oh damn it.”   All of the sudden, your mind raced to figure out how to get it done and you became machine-like in your approach.  That’s the feeling you have to self-impose in order to maximize your time.

Look at the tasks in front of you and ask yourself “How long should this take?”  After you come up with your answer, give yourself half of that time to do it and see if you can get it done.  Once you buy into it, it becomes a win-win situation.  If you finish it in your allotted time, you win because you did it in half the time you thought it would take.  If you don’t finish in the allotted time, chances are that you were working more quickly and more efficiently than you would have if you didn’t put the time constraint on it.

Quit Waiting for the Perfect Moment and Take Action: Let the Madman Loose

Forethought is important.  But don’t confuse great thoughts with great accomplishments.  It takes a special mentality (that you can develop) to take an idea and push forward with it until it’s a tangible product.  If you have a desire to create something or make something better, the best thing you can do is “let the madman out”.  Check out “Madman, Architect, Carpenter, Judge: Unlocking Our Personas to Get Unstuck.” .

Here’s how I would summarize it.  We all have four personas within us that aid us in the creative process. The madman starts the creative process.  Energetic, sporadic, and unrefined, he spits out raw materials with little cohesiveness and great zeal.  Second up is the Architect.  After the madman has exhausted himself and is passed out in the corner, the Architect steps in to pick out the import scribblings of the Madman.  Once the key topics have been identified, the Carpenter nails it together so that it makes sense.  When his job is done, the Judge comes in and checks it over for style, clarity and cohesiveness.

The issue that we often run into is that we let the Judge go first with our ideas.  He picks them apart before there’s anything tangible.   If you want to accomplish anything important, you have to let the Madman loose so that you have something to work with.  It’s much easier to edit something that’s in front of you than it is to create something from scratch.  That’s why it’s so important to utilize the energy and vigor that the Madman brings.  Don’t worry about it being perfect.  Just promise the Judge that he’ll get his turn, then unstrap the straight jacket, stand back, and let the Madman go crazy.