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How to Take Smart and Massive Action in 6 Simple Steps

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How to Take Smart and Massive Action in 6 Simple Steps


    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    1. 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.
    1. 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.
    1. 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.)
    1. 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.
    1. 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.
    1. 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.

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    When you take smart massive action, you are truly making progress on those things that matter.

    (Photo credit: Chess Player Playing via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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