Recently a friend shared a Chinese proverb. It goes like this – “Talk doesn’t cook rice” Here are Leo Babauta’s ‘Little Rules of Action’ to help you get cooking.
Don’t Overthink. It’s good to have a clear picture of where you’re going or why, but too much thinking can be paralyzing. Don’t overthink, just do it.
Forget Perfection. Perfectionism is the enemy of action. Kill it, immediately. You can’t let perfect stop you from doing. You can turn a bad start into a good result, but you can’t turn failure to start into anything. So get going.
Don’t Mistake Motion For Action. A common mistake. A fury of activity doesn’t mean you’re doing anything. When you find yourself moving too quickly, doing too many things at once, this is a good reminder to stop. Slow down. Focus.
Focus On The Important. Clear the distractions. Pick the one most important thing you must do today, and focus on that. Exclusively. The big things are what matter.
Be Deliberate. Action doesn’t need to be done fast. In fact, that often leads to mistakes, and while a penchant for perfection isn’t any good, neither is making a ridiculous amount of mistakes that could be avoided with a bit of consciousness.
Take Small Steps. Biting off more than you can chew will kill the action. Maybe because of choking, I dunno. But small steps always works. Little tiny blows that will eventually break down that mountain. And each step is a victory, that will compel you to further victories.
Negative Thinking Gets You Nowhere. Seriously, stop doing that. Self doubt? The urge to quit? Telling yourself that it’s OK to be distracted and that you can always get to it later? Squash those thoughts. Well, OK, you can be distracted for a little bit, but you get the idea. Positive thinking, as corny as it sounds, really works. It’s self-talk, and what we tell ourselves has a funny habit of turning into reality.
Meetings Aren’t Action. This is a common mistake in management. They hold meetings to get things done. Meetings, unfortunately, almost always get in the way of actual doing. Stop holding those meetings!
Talking (usually) Isn’t Action. Well, unless the action you need to take is a presentation or speech or something. Or you’re a television broadcaster. But usually, talking is just talking. Communication is necessary, but don’t mistake it for actual action.
Planning Isn’t Action. Sure, you need to plan. Do it, so you’re clear about what you’re doing. Just do it quickly, and get to the actual action as quickly as you can.
Reading About It Isn’t Action. You’re reading an article about action. Ironic, I know. But let this be the last one. Now get to work!
By Leo Babauta