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Getting Things Done

Here are several stages that people seem to get into when they think of something to be done. The level you are at largely determines how effective you will be in accomplishing that task. From my experience, these are the states people tend to get into:

It’s Impossible

At this stage, the task seems preposterous to you. Not only can you not do it, you can’t even conceive of doing it. The thought of the task doesn’t even merit serious consideration in your book. If someone tries to convince you it’s possible, you’ll be annoyed at such an obviously impossible thing. Your mind is completely closed here and it’ll take a lot of proof from various sources before you’ll move into the next stage.

Only The Smartest People Can Do It

This is almost as bad as the “It’s Impossible” stage in getting something accomplished. Here, you acknowledge that the task is doable by somebody, somewhere, just not you. Generally, you get to this state because you actually think it’s impossible, but somebody seems to have done it, so you grudgedly acknowledge that it can be done. It’ll probably take a lot more people doing it or some significant mental breakthrough for you to move into the next stage.

I Can Do It But It’s Really Annoying/Hard

This is the first stage where something is actually accomplished. However, it’s done with great mental power and probably over a long period of time. That’s because while you can do the task, you don’t really want to do it. You see the task as some really hard and almost insurmountable hill. This is where you try to procrastinate as much as possible, in hopes that somehow you won’t actually have to do the task. Once the task becomes familiar either through repetition or some extra knowledge, you’ll naturally move into the next stage.

Yeah, It’s Kind Of Boring

This is probably the stage where most people work at. A lot of mundane work that doesn’t challenge or excite you. You go through the motions because you’ve done it hundreds of times before. You don’t really learn anything new, and don’t really want to. It’s all just a grind. After a while though, your might come up with something interesting and move on to the next stage.

I’m Going To Build A Tower!

This is where you see a lot of excited people talking to everyone about their big plan to make tons of money. “I’m going to build a huge tower!” you tell everyone you meet. “No really, I AM!! Come on, why don’t you believe me?” Except the only problem is that they’re wondering, “Hmmm, then how come you’re telling me about it instead of building the tower?” Just a lot of idle speculation and hype at this point. Although, after a while of everyone getting tired of hearing you talk, you’ll either give up or move into the next stage.

Leave Me Alone – I’m Working!

This is the stage where a lot of stuff gets done. You don’t tell anyone about your big plan, you don’t brag about it, you don’t sit around thinking about it, you just do it. People walk by and wonder what you’re doing, but you’re too busy working on your plan to explain it to them. Months later, you have this awesome tower standing up and people wonder just how on earth you managed to find the time to do that.

In college, I focused on the this level all the time to take 8 classes per semester and do well in all of them. People look around after the fact and wonder how that’s possible. Instead of explaining or bragging, I simply worked on next semester’s stuff.

However, with just yourself though, you can only accomplish so much. Eventually, if you want to accomplish great things, you’ll need other people.

Look At How Cool This Is!

This is a level that I’m currently struggling to work at myself. A single person can only produce so much, even if it is 1000x the average employee. To be able to produce 100000x, you need the help of other people. That means inspiring them and motivating them to work for you, which is why solid relationships are so important.

This takes a lot of time, patience, imagination, and understanding though, so it’s definitely not an easy level to achieve!

So which of these levels do you work at?

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3 Responses to “The Stages Of Getting Things Done”

  1. Kamil Przeorski on November 12th, 2007 6:54 am

    Hello, Thanks for this very interesting post. I’m curious about from where you got these mass of interesting topics on this blog?

    About above stages I’m interested in what is most efficient strategy to get from stage “Leave Me Alone – I’m Working!” to “Look At How Cool This Is!”?

    Do You have any advices here to get there faster?

  2. Warren on November 12th, 2007 10:26 am

    Hi Kamil,

    Mostly, I just think of things as I go through my life. Always figured they’re pretty interesting and should write them down :-)

    Going from “Leave Me Alone – I’m Working!” to “Look At How Cool This Is!” is pretty hard I think. We have to learn how to motivate people. I’m currently trying to make this transition myself and I think it’s a lifelong process. Just have to continually observe people, find out what they want, and give them a chance to get that for themselves.

  3. Alex Blackwell on November 19th, 2007 4:13 am

    Great overview and explaination for getting things done. Thanks for sharing.