It’s official. I’ve declared that 2012 is the Year of Doing.
The start of the year is usually the time most of us make big plans for the 12 months ahead. There are new year’s resolutions, visions boards, and countless planning sessions with your journal or on big white sheets of butcher’s paper.
All those activities are great. But they mean nothing if you don’t actually “do” them.
In the past, I’ve been guilty of spending so much time researching and planning projects that I never got started on the “doing”.
You’ve seen it all before. Let’s say you want a smart strategy to market your business. So you study all the marketing gurus. You read all their books, buy their information products and tell yourself that you’re going to learn everything you can about the topic and cherry-pick the best ideas for your business. You convince yourself that this approach means you’ll implement “the best” of everything.
But you and I both know this doesn’t happen. You start off enthusiastically absorbing the teachings of the first marketing guru, you create big plans for the year – but somewhere along the line … it just all becomes too much.
The Year of Doing was partly inspired by my personal trainer, John. You’ll find him here. Last year, we were talking about the various fitness strategies espoused by countless fitness gurus – you’ve got Primal, Paleo, Atkins, Dukan, Sugar-free – the list is endless. Then you’ve got differing theories on weight training, cardio, strength conditioning, CrossFit, you name it. John said to me: “You know what? They’ll all work. You just need to pick one and stick with it. Just stick with it.”
It made total sense. Instead of spending time researching every single fitness method on the planet before committing to one, just get off your bum and start moving.
The same applies to redesigning your website, finding a new blogging system, recruiting a new team member or changing your ecommerce shopping cart. Sure do some research. But then don’t succumb to paralysis by analysis. Just make a decision and move forward. You can adjust your direction later.
Do it now
I once took 18 months to research a new customer relationship management system (CRM). I told myself that this comprehensive investigation was vital in order to make the right decision. I researched every single system on the market and became quite the expert at the functionality and features of all the CRMs out there. But did this help my business?
Not really. Some research was necessary but not THAT much. The reality is that I could have found the solution in much less time. And because I spent so much time researching and planning – instead of doing – when I finally implemented the system, I was 18 months behind where I should have been!
Now I know that it’s easy just to say “do”. But often there are so many items on our “to do” lists and so many projects going on at once that you don’t know where to start. Some people are great are prioritising, others aren’t.
So here’s my tip. Journalling. That’s right. Not mindmapping, or categorising, or using some kind of fabulous productivity app. But journalling.
It’s an idea I first learnt as a writer. Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, encourages writers to write at least three pages every day of whatever comes into your head. It’s a great exercise for writers that really helps your creativity and stories to emerge.
However, I began using it as a business owner when I wanted to work through the multitude of tasks that were muddling my brain. I didn’t use the journal to write about what was happening in my life, or any angst I was feeling, or what was going on in my love life. I used it purely to gain clarity on my priorities.
When I first started doing it, I was amazed at how I would emerge after three pages with a clear idea of where to spend my time on that day. To be honest I never counted that there were three pages – I just wrote until the clarity came. I’ve been doing it every day since the beginning of the year and have been more productive than I could have imagined.
So …. 2012 is the Year of Doing. Or that’s certainly how it has started for me anyway. Only time will tell if this theme will be sustained throughout the year. But I’ve been loving it so much so far that I’m excited to see what else will unfold if I stay committed to it.
What’s the theme for your year?