Thursday, 31 May 2012

What Encourages Us to Get Things Done?

If you’ve read the last couple of posts on What Stops Us Getting Things Done, you might be despairing that anything will ever get done again.  But for every reason we have to put something off, a stronger urge keeps us moving forward.  Here is a starter on what encourages us to get things done:

1.    Values.  Values are when we can’t imagine behaving any other way.  Some people can’t leave the house without making the bed, or relax in the evening unless they have done the washing up.  Values ensure we reply to email before close or play.  Values are our own in-built standards that get the things done even when we are in a hurry or disaster strikes elsewhere.

2.    Urgency.  When other people are waiting for some work, or something bad will happen if we don’t do it.  Think end of tax year, end of month reporting, delivering work to an important customer.

3.    Enjoyment.  Loving what we do. 

4.    Quick and easy work.  Stuff that doesn’t need much thought and can get done quickly.  This may be things you should rightly clear off your plate so they don’t become a problem later or “busy work” that could be done in off-peak time, or not done at all.

5.    Habits.  Those “eat and sleep routines” that you do without thinking.  Examine your work habits to see which are useful, and which less so.

6.    Discipline.  Not a massively popular word, but sometime knuckling down and getting difficult or unpleasant things done takes discipline and grit.  ‘Nuff said.

As with what stops us getting things done (parts 1 and 2) I’m sure this list could be added to.  As we identify what encourages us to be productive, we can make little modifications to our work so tasks become easier and more fun.  It's worth a thought.


  1. I actually have a problem with Lord Coe. But his achievements in getting the Olympics to London are little short of astonishing. How he ever got all the various stakeholders to agree is, to me, really surprising given that some of them were politicians. The moral is, I think, that there are always loads of reasons for doing nothing but the real visionaries are able to identify the one reason for doing something and to persuade other, more cautious, folk to agree. I am very wary of the 'you need one dynamic person to get things done' school of thought - those who want Mayors instead of Councils, for example - and I think this sort of persuasion is a skill. But you do need a vision, as Caroline says

  2. Actually I love this post. It is a paean for intrinsic motivation. I think my comment should have been directed to an earlier post. But I miss Caroline's wisdom since May.