Looooong before I met The Man Who Would Be Hubby, I had this boyfriend who repeatedly barked at me:
“There are two kinds of people in this world: Doers and Talkers. Which one are you?”
Please, you already know which kind of person he was. No one who isn’t a Doer would ever have the balls to bark at other individuals in such a dastardly, judgy fashion.
Still, he truly was a model of self-discipline, a real Get Things Done kinda dude.
He was (is, I should say … he’s still alive) a music producer and a singer / guitarist and he used to crank out the most amazing tracks in the teensy walk-in closet in our NY apartment. You’d have thought he was Dr. Dre – minus the tricked-out mega studio.
He came from nothing, but because he was super-thrifty, he always had tons of dough in his bank account. So while I was chewing through fancy-purse credit card debt, he was investing in real estate.
And because he hit the gym daily, he had abs you could bounce a quarter off.
Which isn’t to say that Mr. Six-Pack-Stomach didn’t have flaws. Oh, but he did.
And I’m very happy to report that Hubby is every bit as self-disciplined and successful, but not even a fraction as judgmental.
Does Hubby want me to accomplish stuff? Bien sur.
But he’s not up in my grill about it. I’ll say: “OMG, my driving is horrendous.” And he’ll say: “I think it’s getting better every day!”
But back to this Doing vs. Talking stuff.
Clearly, as much as it bugged me at the time, this idea of Doing vs. Talking really struck a chord with me.
That’s because I can swing – wildly – between Doing and Talking.
In fact, about six weeks ago, I was out on a Saturday morning run with my FLA bestie Michelle, and she said to me:
“If you actually do some of the stuff you’ve been talking about recently, it will be so great.”
I stopped in the street and laughed my ever-loving ass off.
Was it an insult? Kinda. But it wasn’t meant to be. And it was sooooo spot-on.
What Michelle knew, and I knew, was that I really needed to finish one big project – my danawoodwriter.com portfolio website – before I could move on to anything else.
She wanted to introduce me to people in FLA who could connect dots to writing work, and she really couldn’t do that until I pulled the trigger on my site.
Happily, I did finally do that. Yay me.
But there have been a few bold declarations I’ve made this year – on this very website – that I didn’t follow through on.
Exhibit A: My New Year’s Res of meditating and dry-brushing my skin every day. I was on such a good roll with those two, and then we moved mid-year and my concentration and focus just completely blew up. Ironically – and stupidly, because I know better – meditating is the first thing that goes out the window when I’m stressed-out.
Exhibit B: My more recent proclamation that I would machete thru my massive Gmail inbox. Um, I haven’t been very successful on that front. (Today’s email count: 9368…grrrr…) But remember that processing hack I gave you about playing the spam card on lists that won’t let you unsubscribe? It works. You’re welcome.
Okay, since I’ve now “talked” for several minutes, I’m getting antsy to move on with my day and start “doing.”
So without further ado, here are…
5 Ways I Shift from Talking to Doing
1. I look at the single word taped to my computer:
That moves me out of Talking mode, and back into Doing mode. I don’t admire people who are all talk and no action. In other words, who don’t deliver. A little talk = okay. All talk = blech. I strive to stay outta Blech Territory.
2. I ask myself what my “frog” is, and I “eat” it.
This idea comes from one of the best productivity books I’ve ever read: Eat That Frog. The author challenges you to identify the one biggest, ugliest, scariest task you have on your plate – the one you most don’t want to do, but that will be the most beneficial to your goals – and dive into it first thing in the morning, before doing anything else. It’s a hard habit to get into, but so worth it.
3. Along with my frog, I make a really short To Do list.
Another gem, courtesy of another great productivity book – The Power of Less – by my crunchy crush, Leo Babauta. Leo’s thinking is that, with a massive To Do list, you’re probably including a lot of not-so-important stuff. And you’re not doing any of it very well. Go small, really focus, and knock it out of the park.
4. I recognize that I have both “on” and “off” days.
I hope this point doesn’t sound like a cop-out, because it isn’t. For whatever reasons – and it may have something to do with my hypothyroidism – I don’t have an equal amount of firing-on-all-cylinders brain power every day. So now, on my ‘off’ days, I do a lot of house-y stuff: Organizing, cleaning, laundry, cooking, etc. When I was toiling full-time at magazines, I would use my ‘off’ days to plan my story lineup, hold meetings with my kick-ass team, return emails, go on market appointments, etc. – anything I needed to do that didn’t involve writing.
5. When the day’s over, I wind down, hide the iPad and get some damn sleep.
While it might sound counter-intuitive, this is even more important following an ‘off’ day. I’ve just found it really helpful to “forgive” myself for not being hyper-productive in a professional, making-money kind of way. With down time and a good night’s sleep, I come back, guns blazing, the very next morning.