Tell me if you've ever done this: you know something's a bad idea-- but you do it anyway.
- You try to fit one more plate on your forearm while clearing the table.
- You fill your soup bowl up to the brim knowing damn well you need to carry it across the room.
- You try to balance a glass of red wine on the arm of the couch.
You're absolutely sure it’s a terrible idea, but there’s this little voice in your head that says, “Just try it anyway. You might be able to get away with it.” And so you do. Usually with disastrous results.
Perhaps less dramatic, but no less important, is the stuff you know you should do-- but don’t. The project that’s been on your to-do list for months. Your finances and admin that you keep pushing to the back burner. Your “daily” meditation practice that you haven’t done in three weeks.
We all do it. We procrastinate and make excuses and tell ourselves we’re too “busy” to do the important stuff, right before losing an hour of our life looking at Instagram stories of people we don’t even know.
1. Stop using information as procrastination
I'm the worst about this.
I talked for six months about creating a free sales guide for entrepreneurs. There would be the theory to help you understand what makes a strong brand, exercises and activities to get your creative juices flowing, and an organized flow to capture your ideas, so that by the end of it, you’d have in your hands your very own branding and communications strategy. It was gonna be great.
The only problem?
I didn't f*cking do the work.
Instead, I spent half the year watching webinars about creating products. I read blogs about how to use Facebook ads to sell my training. I signed up for freebie after freebie to learn how to launch it and create a sales funnel for it.
Basically, I did everything I could to get that product out into the world, except, you know, creating the damn product.
I’m sure I’m not alone here. We all have great ideas. If you’re a creative, chances are, you have too many ideas. Finding ideas isn’t the problem-- implementing them is.
And, if you’re a raging perfectionist like me, that problem is exacerbated like a mofo.
You want all the information before taking action. You want to be absolutely sure to set yourself up for success. You want to read every word ever written about launching a product before you dare try it. You want to control all the things to protect yourself from failure.
And that’s a mistake
Sure, the blogs are helpful. The webinars give us ideas. The e-courses inspire us.
But the fact is, unless we actually do something with what we’re learning, we’re all wasting our damn time.
2. Information is useless without implementation
Think about the last blog you read. You probably clicked on it because the title was something you needed to improve. You need to stop procrastinating. You need to be more productive. You need to get shit done.
You read the article and by the end, you’re like, “Yes! Totally!”
You’re super inspired, so as soon as you finish, you take the time to write down what you learned and plan the specific changes you’re going to make, right?
Of course you don't. At least I don't. I give it a “like” and maybe a share on Facebook, and then forget about it completely.
That’s why this is called, “You need to stop reading blogs.” As much as I appreciate you reading this (and I do, I really, really do!), if you don’t actually do anything with the advice, then let’s face it, we’re both wasting our time.
Since I don’t have the balls to seriously tell you to stop reading my blog, I’m going to challenge you to do something I’m trying to do myself:
Spend as much time doing the thing as you spend reading about the thing.
3. Create as much as you consume
Yep, that's right.
If you spend one hour listening to a podcast, spend another hour implementing what you learned. If you take 2 minutes to pin inspirational quotes on Pinterest, spend another 2 minutes writing them down somewhere you’ll actually see them and they'll inspire you on a daily basis. If you spend 10 minutes reading this blog post, spend another 10 thinking about a system for capturing the things you learn and doing something with them.
Because if you’re anything like me, you’re a life-long learner. You love challenging yourself with new ideas and new ways of living.
And that’s a good thing.
But if you’re like me, you’re also a creative person with ideas of your own to share. You’re trying to make a difference in the world-- no matter how small-- using your unique experience and talents. You have projects to finish, things to create, people to serve. You have work to do.
Your work deserves your time and attention. It deserves to be finished. It deserves to be seen.
And that work? It’s not going to get done if you’re spending your time learning about it instead of actually doing it.
So let's do this thing.
As soon as you finish reading this, stop. Grab whatever you use to take notes and write down what you learned. Think about how you’re going to use it. Start mapping out the system you’ll use to capture ideas and put them into action.
Because an idea without action is just a dream. And no one ever changed the world by dreaming about it.