An Idea is Only as Good as the Implementation

What is implementation?

im·ple·men·ta·tion /impləmənˈtāSH(ə)n/ (noun)
the process of putting a decision or plan into effect; execution.

As a creative business owner who loves what you do, you are probably inundated with great ideas every day. You probably get them in the shower, as you’re driving, while you’re sweating on the treadmill. But how many of those great ideas do you put into action and see through to fruition?

That’s what I thought. I know, I know, it’s hard! You’re so busy running your business. It’s hard to find the time for something new. A new idea may require you to learn new skills to bring to fruition. It may involve getting help, spending money, investing time.

And new is scary. What if it doesn’t work out? How do you know if its the right idea at the right time?

Of course, there are no guarantees. But think about it. What if Steve Jobs had never moved forward on the iPod? What if Ford never invested in the assembly line? What if John Adams and Thomas Jefferson quit before writing the Declaration of Independence?

What world changing, business revolutionizing, life impacting idea have you set aside because you just don’t have time?

So, how do you, as a ridiculously busy entrepreneur make your ideas a reality?

“It is not always what we know or analyzed before we make a decision that makes it a great decision. It is what we do after we make the decision to implement and execute it that makes it a good decision.”

–William Pollard

Create the Structure for Implementation

idea, action, implementationIf you are not implementing ideas, it is likely because you don’t have an existing system or structure for taking an idea, developing that idea into a plan of action and then implementing that plan. So the seed of the idea floats around for awhile but doesn’t find the fertile ground to settle into and begin to grow.

Put a few simple structures into place and your ideas will have a place to land:

  • Have a notebook (online or a physical notebook) to record your ideas when they come to you.
  • Schedule time in your week – every week – to explore and develop new ideas. Back in the day (they aren’t doing this anymore, I don’t think) Google used to allow their employees to take 20% of their time to work on ideas. You don’t need to spend 20% of your time – but set aside an hour or two every week. It’s the quality and consistency more than the quantity of time that’s important.

Implement One Idea at a Time

I recommend serial monogamy when it comes to projects – 1 project at a time! Too many projects means you won’t effectively deliver on any of them. So pick one idea and for all the rest, keep them in your idea notebook for the future.

So how do you decide which idea to pursue?

  • Remember, you’re jotting down your ideas in your notebook – is there an idea you’ve written down more then once? Is there an idea that keeps popping up, over and over? That might be the first one to go with
  • Maybe go through your list and pick the one that seems most exciting, most shiny to you.
  • All your other ideas, go into the notebook for later. Keep writing them down – but don’t let them distract you.

Once you’ve picked your idea:

You may discover from this process alone that your idea isn’t really going to work. That’s OK – it’s not wasted effort. Because you will have learned a lot – and you may find a way to pivot your idea or this may open up other ideas or clarify ideas you’ve already had. Just pick the next idea and move forward.

Put Your Idea into Action

Once you’ve made the decision that this idea is the one you’re going to move forward on, make a specific schedule in your week for when you will work on it. Get coaching and support and most importantly get into action.

Let me know how you do in the comments!

 

 

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Magic of Action Video

Check out this fun little video I made!

Procrastination as Information

When clients admit to procrastinating on an action in session, they are usually shrouded in shame and embarrassment. As if somehow they are a failure, because they’ve been procrastinating.

Does this sound familiar:

procrastination, resistance, action

I DON’T WANNA!

It feels like there’s a part of you that knows you “should” be doing this action and that part even wants to be doing it.  But there’s another part of you that’s like a whiny 3 year old, stomping your foot, saying, “I don’t WANNA!”  You beg and plead with that 3 year old inside of you, but you just can’t get into action.  And the more you push against it, the stronger the resistance.

Some of my clients think that, as their coach, I can fix them, force them, make them take action.  But here’s the thing – they’re not broken and neither are you. And the more you push against resistance the stronger and more powerful it becomes.

Procrastination is a symptom of something.  It’s not evidence that you’re broken.  It’s evidence that your unconscious is staging a rebellion.  And in order to bring your unconscious back into alignment with your conscious mind – you have to understand what is causing the rebellion.

Why shaming doesn’t work

Imagine if you went to a doctor and told him you have a sore throat.  And instead of the doctor examining you and running tests and prescribing treatment, instead, he told you that you were bad and wrong for having a sore throat.

Would that fix your sore throat?

Wouldn’t you just feel bad about yourself and still have a sore throat?  And yet, that’s exactly what you’re doing every time you beat up on yourself for procrastinating.  It doesn’t work.  Cut it out!

Procrastination is a symptom

Procrastination is the key to finding out what your unconscious is trying to tell you.  So instead of shaming yourself – start investigating. Become Dr. House and investigate what is causing your procrastination.  Get curious.

What is the root cause of your procrastination?

What Causes Procrastination?

There are many different reasons for procrastination.  And if you tend to procrastinate on a lot of different things – you may have different reasons for each thing.  Here is a list of common causes and some suggestions to counter them:

  • Your goals are unclear – you’re not sure why you should be doing this thing

Get clear on your goals – what specific goal does this action serve?

  • There is a learning curve for this action and you don’t know how to do it

Find someone who can show you how.  Take a class to learn how.  Google it!  Take the action and be willing to do it badly while you’re learning.

  • The action is too big, too vague or too general (overwhelming)

Break it down and get specific.

  • You have a lot of different actions you need to take and they all seem of equal priority or importance

Make a list and knock them out one at a time – if they are truly of equal priority, just pick ANY one.  Learn how to manage conflicting priorities.

  • No matter what you do, it’s never enough.  And you’re not allowed to play until you finish your homework!

Celebrate each accomplishment, each baby step.  Make sure you take breaks to play, exercise, just breathe. Not allowing yourself to celebrate is a recipe for burnout. This is critical!

  • The action feels like a big risk and you’re afraid to take that risk

First ask yourself, “Is this true?” In other words, is it really the risk you think it is? You may find that your fear of the risk is making it seem bigger. Get support or coaching around overcoming your fear.

  • When you imagine taking the action, you anticipate that it will be difficult or frustrating or even just boring

Just do it for 15 minutes – you can stop after 15 minutes.  Put on some really great music. Reward yourself for having done it by doing something really fun next.

  • When this action is complete, the next obvious action is either invisible (if I do this, then what?) or really scary (if I do this, then I’ll have to do THAT!)

Very often the next step will become clear when this step is done.  And you don’t have to do it alone.  Work with a coach to help you through the scary stuff and figure out what’s next. And remember – just focus on the action in front of you – the next action will be dealt with when it’s time to deal with it!

Diagnosing Your Procrastination

Do some of the above suggestions ring true for you? Here are a few more questions that might help you uncover the underlying cause of your hesitation and/or resistance.  First, don’t ask “why”!  “Why” just gives you reasons to procrastinate more!

  • When I think about taking this action, I feel ______________ (fill in the emotion word – anxious, sad, angry, etc.).  What am I thinking/believing that has me feeling ______________?
  • When I imagine taking this action, I think it is going to be _______________ (easy, hard, frustrating, boring, overwhelming, etc.)
  • How long will this action take me?
  • What are the specific steps to accomplishing this action?
  • What fear, concern or consideration is stopping me from taking this action?
  • What will taking this action do for me?  What outcome do I desire from taking this step?
  • What outcome am I afraid of, if I take this action?  What’s the worse case scenario? What if I do nothing?  Is that worse?
  • If I break this action down into its smallest component steps and just contemplate the first of those steps – how does that feel?  Can I take that baby step now?
  • Am I celebrating each baby step or am I only allowed to celebrate when I have the big goal and I’ve done it perfectly?

Sometimes simply asking some of these questions can actually clear you enough to get into action.

Procrastination can fundamentally undermine all of your time management systems.  So figuring out what is causing you to procrastinate is a critical first step in managing your time well.

What are you procrastinating? Share what you discover about your own procrastination in the comments, or ask for help figuring it out!

 

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