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How to Take Smart and Massive Action in 6 Simple Steps

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.

    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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    Timo Kiander

    Productivity Author and Founder of Productive Superdad

    What Is FOMO (And How to Get Over It) Do You Do This Common Mistake When You Start Working on Your Tasks? 9 Valuable Lessons Learned After Writing My First Book How to Create a To-Do List that Makes You Smile Agreeing on Deadlines With Yourself Just Doesn’t Work: Here’s What Does

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    Last Updated on August 19, 2019

    How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

    How to Succeed in Life on Your Own Terms: 7 Essential Steps

    There is a great deal of advice in the world telling us how to succeed in life, but often we are given advice that isn’t tailored to our needs, desires and priorities. Success means different things to each of us, and living a life that feels genuinely successful to me might be very different to your idea of a successful life.

    Naturally, when we follow the advice of someone else, which is tailored to their life goals and personality, we can end up with something that doesn’t deliver on the promise. We don’t get rewarded with our vision of success: we get theirs.

    This is why I’m a proponent of self-discovery, introspection and personal sovereignty. So how to succeed on your own terms?

    These 7 essential steps are not going to tell you exactly what to do, but they will provide you with the tools and the questions to ask so that you can discover your own path, so you know how to succeed in life on your own terms.

    1. Know Thyself

    One of Socrates’ most well-known quotes is,

    An unexamined life is not worth living.

    I argue that an unexamined life is not a successful one. Self-knowledge is something we could dedicate our lives to, but I’m not suggesting you sit around and navel-gaze in order to find happiness and meaning.

    Thankfully, there are people who have created techniques and systems that less us fast-forward through a lot of personal philosophizing, and quickly identify some key aspects of what makes us, us.

    You might want to find out what your ideal daily schedule is,[1] and you can take tests that reveal just that. Or you might want to figure out what you need to get things done – and yes, there’s a quiz for that too.

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    None of these tests are infallible, and some are more scientific than others, but the process of asking yourself questions about your behaviors and traits is invaluable when it comes to determining your path to succeed in life.

    For example, if you know you are an introvert and are unhappy in your current workplace, it might be worth considering why that is (an open plan office space perhaps) and what you would prefer.

    It’s these little questions that will provoke answers in you that can guide the decisions that truly improve your life now and in the future.

    2. Figure out What Matters to You

    What lights you up? This is a question that often gets forgotten as we age. A fortunate child will be given the stimulation they desire in the form of bright toys, affection and entertainment. Little by little, the things that bring a child joy get replaced by what society demands on their behalf.

    When we return to that question, and ask ourselves what really matters and what brings us joy, we can move closer towards a successful life. It can help to think back to your childhood, and the times in your life when you were in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls a flow state.[2]

    In a state of flow, time slows and our focus is directed like a laser. We are fully present.

    Whilst not everything in life that matters to you will conjure up a flow state, it’s a good indication of the kind of activities and experiences you can try to incorporate into your life on a regular basis.

    A successful life is made up of moments like this, and when you know what matters to you and brings you a sense of joy and purpose, you can go about creating more of that.

    3. Play to Your Strengths

    Why spend your time only on mitigating your weaknesses, only to feel average? Instead, playing to your strengths and amplifying those skills and qualities you already have will help you go from average to extraordinary.

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    If you’re great at big picture thinking and love dreaming up new ideas, but often lack attention to detail, acknowledge that. Then instead of trying to improve your analytical skills, focus instead on developing your existing skills of imagination and insight. When you need someone with a keen eye for detail, you can collaborate with those people.

    Jackson Pollock was an extreme introvert, with no real desire to get his artwork in front of people. Fortunately, he had Clement Greenberg, who was much further towards the extrovert end of the spectrum, to popularize his work and get Pollock the publicity he needed.[3]

    Start by identifying your strengths and what comes naturally to you. Then work on developing those and becoming known for those strengths. You can always find someone who will help you in fill in the gaps.

    4. Listen to Yourself

    It isn’t always clear to us that we’re on a path that leads us to failure or to success. People can spends decades in a job that is unfulfilling and slowly breaking their spirit, without even realizing it – until it’s too late. This is usually because they haven’t learned how to truly listen to themselves.

    The challenge we face is that we’re listening to so many other sources of information; whether it’s the news, television, social media, family, friends or colleagues. Many may want to help, but that doesn’t mean they know what’s best for us. Only you know what success means for you, and working this out begins with listening to yourself.

    Listening to yourself requires practice. It’s a daily effort, which over time, does get easier. That inner voice of wisdom will get clearer, and the decisions you make will feel more convincing.

    To start, you could try to set aside 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up, in silence. Rather than look at your phone, checking emails or social media, simply sit in silence, listening.

    Ask yourself a simple question like, what am I feeling right now, in this moment? Notice the answer that bubbles up, without getting lost in the story. Starting an inner dialogue, without judgment is one of the key tools you can use to start making better decisions in your life.

    Learn more about listening to your true self in this guide: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment

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    5. Listen to Others (But Not Everyone)

    Listening to yourself is one thing, but listening to others is crucial in order to learn, empathize and be of benefit to your community.

    Truly listening to others is not just waiting patiently until it’s your turn to speak. Active listening requires focused attention, and the intention to understand where the other person is coming from.

    When you do this, you can ask better questions and discover more about the world and everyone in it, as well as learn how to interact with others in order to succeed in life on your own terms.

    However, this doesn’t mean you have to listen to everyone you come across. Trolls on the internet may come into the category of people not to listen to. Some people’s opinions will do more harm than good, as not everyone has your best interest in mind.

    It’s worth identifying a shortlist of people whose opinions you will listen to. Brené Brown, author of the New York Times best-seller Daring Greatly, recommends taking a 1-inch x 1-inch square of paper and make a list of people whose opinions matter to you. These are the people who love you and will genuinely support and help you. According to Brown,

    “If you need more paper, you need to edit.”

    6. Make Time for Reflection

    It’s easy to go through life without taking inventory of what you’re actually accomplishing. Missing this crucial step means we end up jumping from one goal to the next, without feeling like we’re getting anywhere.

    Make time, ideally each day to reflect. You might keep a paper journal, or an online document. Either way, jot down:

    • What went well today
    • Something you’re grateful for
    • What would make tomorrow even better

    Doing this can have measurable benefits to our overall sense of well-being, as well as keeping us focused for more success in the future.[4]

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    It also helps combat feelings of lack and doubt, that arise when we compare ourselves to others. When we look at someone who appears to be more successful than us in an area of life, we can forget how far we’ve come and how much we have to be grateful for.

    Making time to reflect on what you have accomplished is critical to keep you on track, and just not looking at what others are doing.

    7. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

    Arguably the most important step of all:

    Remember that there’s nothing wrong in changing your mind and correcting course.

    The path to a successful life is not straight and narrow. It meanders and there’s no harm in going back and picking a different (and better) route.

    “I think our life is a journey, and we make mistakes, and it’s how we learn from those mistakes and rebound from those mistakes that sets us on the path that we’re meant to be on.” — Jay Ellis

    Be willing to make mistakes, learn from them and change your mind. Ultimately, there’s no better way to succeed in life on your own terms.

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    Featured photo credit: Shirly Niv Marton via unsplash.com

    Reference

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