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Every now and then you hear someone saying, “You need to take massive action in order to get stuff done”. While this type of work is something you should strive for, it has also flaws if you follow the advice blindly.
In fact, I’m willing to say that working like this can actually make you procrastinate and burn your energy levels to zero on the long run, if you don’t pay close attention to what you are doing.
Massive action defined
Let’s first define the term “massive action”. In my understanding it means taking many big and focused action steps at once that can bring you big results in return.
For example, you could be writing a book. Instead of getting 3 pages ready in a day, you set yourself a goal to write 10 pages instead.
When you keep working like this, the benefit is obvious; you finish your tasks or projects faster and can move
quickly onto other projects.
The downside of taking massive action
The big problem with taking massive action is that if you are taking action for action’s sake, you are going to burn out fast. You are just keeping yourself busy, but you are not getting meaningful things done.
For instance, you could be promoting your latest blog post by posting it to hundreds of social bookmarking sites out there. Sure, you are taking massive action, but are you getting any results? Are you focusing on your target audience or “just anyone out there”?
Instead of taking massive action that way, shouldn’t you just focus on a handful of bookmarking sites that are related to your niche and where your target audience hangs out? Even if you just did this, the impact would be much bigger and you would be less-stressed. In addition, you would saved some time.
What are the benefits of taking action the smart way?
Smart massive action means focus – it gives you the reason “why” (why am I taking action?). You are not just taking action, but you also know what that action relates to. The focus comes when you have set goals and when you take action that is related to those goals.
Taking action the smart way can also be a motivational booster. When you act, you know you are not procrastinating and that improves your self-confidence. Also, when you take action the smart massive way, you see results faster, which make you take even more action.
Finally, smart massive action means time savings and less stress. This is quite obvious, since you are focusing on very specific actions. The rest of the “stuff” can be dropped out and eliminated.
How do you take smart massive action?
Now that we have looked at the differences between massive and smart massive action and the benefits of doing the things the smart way, let’s discuss how to put this theory into action.
In order to take smart massive action, you can take the steps below. Don’t worry about the example I’m using and whether it’s realistic of not (I don’t know nothing about the dogs :). The main purpose is just to illustrate the action steps.
- Set your main goal you are trying to reach. The crucial part is to define the concrete goal(s) before taking any action. If you take action, know your “why”. This is your target that you are trying to reach when you take smart massive action. For example, if you are passionate about dog training, you could decide to become an authority in dog training market. You have decided to write a book on dog training, because that would increase your recognition amongst the dog lovers and enthusiasts.
- Set sub-goals and time limits. To keep you better on track, you need to split your big goal into sub-goals. This way you know your milestones you want to reach and you are able to see better if you are making steady progress. In this dog training example, you could decide that in order to complete your book, you to have the outline of the book ready in the next 7 days. The next sub-goal would be to have 4 chapters ready (of your 8 chapter book) in the next three weeks. The final 4 chapters would be written in the following 3 weeks after that, so the book writing would be completed in 6 weeks.
- Eliminate and outsource. One important part of taking smart massive action is to get rid of tasks that you shouldn’t be concerned of. This way, you are reducing the amount of “waste work” and you can focus on the essential tasks in your projects. You love to write, but graphic design is not your thing. Yet, you realize that you have to pay attention to this aspect in your book too, so you decide to outsource the design work. You also decide to outsource the proofreading part as well. (Note: To be even more specific on the dog training topic, you could decide to focus on Beagles only, so you are able to eliminate all the information that is not related to this breed.)
- Act! Now it’s time to take your smart massive action! This requires raw work. In fact, even in the situations of “work smart, not hard”, you still need to put some hours in even if you are focusing on the essential tasks only. This means just raw writing part. However, you don’t settle for finishing 3 pages per day, you decide to come up with 5 pages per day. Now you are truly taking smart massive action, because you are doing something that truly matters and relates to your goal. In order to make the writing part even more productive, you decide to use a timer and work in blocks to get more focused work done.
- Block some time, get rid of distractions and choose your location. To get more stuff done with less distraction, you have to figure out the times when to do the work, where to work and how to be the least distracted as possible. By doing these three things, you have a clear work structure in place and you are making sure that your action is not interrupted by something that could have been avoided with a little planning. You realize that the best writing times for you are between 06.00 AM and 10.00 AM in the morning and between 5 PM – 9 PM in the evening. You block the time off your calendar and let your spouse and kids know about this. It is quite obvious, that you mute your phone and disconnect from e-mail or instant messaging during the time you are working. In addition, you know that you are at your most productive in your work room during the working hours, so you “isolate” yourself there.
- Review your progress and adjust if needed. Once you start working, you may become blind to your work. This causes you to miss the bigger picture (your “why”) and you are doing things you shouldn’t be doing. To prevent this, you review your action steps and progress on a consistent basis (once again, block some time off your calendar). If necessary, you take corrective action that put you back on track. You come to realize that you have been able to produce only 2 pages for your book for a couple of days. You make a careful analysis and realize that you feel tired when you work. You decide to take some power naps but also get your nightly sleeping patterns improved for better alertness and productivity. This action puts you back on track and you feel much better when you do your work.
As you can see, just taking massive action blindly is not going to take you anywhere. Instead, you should plan you actions a bit, so that you can get the best results in return.
When you take smart massive action, you are truly making progress on those things that matter.
(Photo credit: Chess Player Playing via Shutterstock)
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