getting stuff done agile style

Getting Stuff Done

I have received lots of lovely comments about my latest blog post – thank you! It’s weird, for a while I seemed to lose my “blogging mojo”, if there is such a thing. Every time I sat down to write, nothing came out. Well, very little. I never seemed to feel like writing. Admittedly, I am working on another project that is taking up a lot of my creative energy. Not to mention a new role contracting that is totally awesome but taking a lot of time. I don’t want to say “I didn’t have time”, because we all know there’s no such thing. I also think saying “I didn’t feel like it” doesn’t give it justice. It was really one of my most recent posts about being uncomfortable that got me thinking about why I wasn’t getting stuff done. I eventually wrote the post by promising myself I was not allowed to leave my desk until I had written SOMETHING. It was like some sort of weird, solo, silent protest/torture thingy. Then I just typed some stuff. Then more. And before I knew it I had the makings of a blog post.

Michelle Bridges tells her clients “don’t wait until you FEEL like exercising! That day is not going to come! Do it anyway!” Many writers write anyway. Stephen King writes something every day. I’m not sure how many words, but it’s something. Every. Day. So, if I was waiting for a nice, warm lovely feeling to wash over me that was going to inspire me to write, I would not have written. At all. Not waiting for the feeling is the secret to getting stuff done.

What is a feeling anyway?

Well, feelings come from thoughts. So, what we are feeling is a direct reflection of what we are THINKING. Scary when you think about it. If you are feeling bad, it is because  you are thinking bad thoughts. If you are feeling unmotivated, you are thinking thoughts of low motivation. Sometimes it feels like our feelings are out of our control. But, that is not the case. Because we can always control what and how we think.

Oh my goodness, I have control!

Imagine a situation where you arrive home to find your house flooded. The carpet is wet, your sofa is ruined and a “wet dog” smell is evident. And you don’t even have dogs. You have no control over this situation. Accidents happen. You weren’t to know a pipe would be blocked and it was going to pour with unseasonal rain. What you do have control over is what you think about it. There are going to be a few expletives, and that’s okay. When you’ve had a rant, think your next thought starting with “I’m so lucky that…” Okay, now this can be difficult but trust me. Just start thinking the words and listen for what follows. Some things that might come out are:

  • … we have insurance
  • … we get to buy a new sofa (I didn’t like that one anyway)
  • … upstairs wasn’t affected as we have so many precious things up there
  • … this didn’t happen when we were on holidays and it went un-noticed

You get the idea. If you’re thinking this is too “Pollyanna” for you, think of the alternative. Negative thoughts, bad feelings and still, the situation is unchanged. The wet dog smell remains. The choice is yours. The key is to THINK something good first, THEN the feeling will come. It is impossible to feel bad when thinking good thoughts.

How to get more stuff done

In summary, don’t wait for the feeling. It will never come. Instead, think a thought that is resourceful for you right now. In my case, I wanted to write, so my thought was “I am so motivated to write right now!” I believed it (eventually) and I immediately felt good about writing. Another thing you might like to do is exercise. Think “I would love to exercise right now!” even if you don’t. Think good thoughts about exercise, and before you know it, you’ll be pounding the pavement, lifting weights or cutting laps in the pool. Or any other number of activities.

So in summary, getting stuff done comes down to this 6 step plan:

  1. Think about what you need to do
  2. Think positive, encouraging thoughts about this task
  3. Imagine how good you’ll feel when it’s done (optional bonus but highly recommended)
  4. Start to feel that feeling now (because you will)
  5. Do the task
  6. Celebrate!

Okay, now step 6 is not a joke. Seriously, we do not celebrate our achievements enough. We move onto the next. Celebrate with anything from a happy dance in your study (I cannot confirm or deny I did this…) to a special treat like a favourite food or massage. Because you deserve it!

How do you get things done? How would changing your thoughts change your outlook, and ultimately, your results? 



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.