As part of one of my book clubs, we read The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, by Mark Manson. This book was incredible- a true must-read for everyone (seriously), and while I could talk about so many things, I want to first talk about one part/method that really aligned with my views regarding getting sh*t done. What he calls it is the “Do Something” principle.
In this section, Mark talks about how we have it all wrong when it comes to trying to get something done. Generally speaking, we operate in an Inspiration -> Motivation -> Action circle, which basically means that we think in order to get things done, we first need to be inspired, which will in turn motivate us to take action.
But what about when you are having trouble getting inspired? What do you do then? Nothing, right? It’s all too overwhelming and frustrating not being able to find inspiration to do whatever it is you need to do (work, design, workout, clean, homework, project, shopping, meal prepping, etc.).
However, the “Do Something” principle is all about showing us that the aforementioned chain is not really the best way to go about accomplishing a task. Instead, he says that we need to DO something. Anything, really, just to get started. Once we get started, we will usually get some inspiration and then motivation to keep going and continue taking action, getting more inspired and more motivated. Make sense? In other words:
Action-> Inspiration -> Motivation
As soon as I read this, it all made so much sense, and it aligns so well with one of the messages I try to get out through my blog. Take this list for instance (all things I talk about a lot on the blog):
- Grocery Shopping
- Meal Prepping
- Working out
- Responding to emails
- Picking up the clutter in your house
- Working on a big project
Am I right saying that when these are weighing on you, it’s hard to get motivation to do them. Maybe it’s too overwhelming to think about how much you have to do or how long it will take. Maybe it’s just dread because you simply don’t want to do them.
However, when you apply the “Do Something” principle to these tasks, it simply means that you just have to start. Just do something towards reaching your end goal, and that could look a little something like this:
- Looking through your cabinents & refridgerator and making a grocery list
- Making a meal plan for the week
- Getting your workout clothes on, new playlist downloaded or finding a new workout to try
- Opening your inbox and deleting all of the junk/spam/not important/no response required emails so as to knock your “unread” count down a bit
- Creating a timeline or a “big picture” outline of what needs to go into the project
By breaking it down into small, mini-steps it does a few things: 1. It makes it seem easier and more doable and 2. Allows you to focus on what’s in front of you and what needs to get done first, rather than feeling overwhelmed by thinking about the item as a whole. The key thing here, though, is that if you just DO SOMETHING in relation to any of these things, you’re one step closer to accomplishing said task/project, and for me, that right there gives me motivation to keep going. I celebrate each small victory (making the grocery list, getting my workout clothes on and to the gym, etc.), which helps push me towards the end goal.
I just recently talked about how if I don’t want to meal prep, I tell myself to just cut up vegetables, or set a timer and see what I can get done in 30 minutes, and usually I end up going longer because the simple action of doing something motivated me to continue doing something. Same thing for the gym- if I don’t want to workout, I give myself a small goal: 10 minutes or just start by walking or just do one circuit. And again, 99% of the time once I get going, I’m motivated to keep going.
These are just a few examples, but I’m hoping that they shed a little light into ways to help you start working towards whatever it is that’s weighing on you or that’s something you dread by following the “Do Something” principle and just starting. Not worrying about finishing or the steps along the way, but just starting.
Questions for you: Have you read this book yet? What are your thoughts on it? How do you get yourself to do something you may not feel like doing? Does any of this resonate with you?