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Last Updated on April 17, 2020

This Is Why Taking Action Creates Success

This Is Why Taking Action Creates Success

The artist Pablo Picasso once said,

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

It’s one of those quotations that when you ponder it, you will have to agree with its blatant truth. But if so many of us are of the same mind as Picasso, why do we regularly forget to take his advice?

About 10 years ago I was very frustrated with my life. I had many ideas and goals, but I had not achieved a fraction of the things that I wanted to achieve.

I would look around and see success all around me. I saw people I went to school with, with big businesses and flashy cars. I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t been as successful as them. I had acted on a few business ideas — I was definitely an expert at business plans — but somehow, nobody else got to see those plans and my business ideas never moved forward. How could I get things done?

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Missing ingredient

I cannot remember the exact occasion or at what stage I realized what was missing. But when I did, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized that sitting dreaming about life wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go UPWARDS!

Still today I can be guilty of not acting on many different ideas, but now it is through choice; now I choose what I act on and what I put on the back-burner. This is what I now do.

Movement

I take action, I realize that the first step is the most important, Newton’s first law of Motion states:

“A body in motion remains in motion unless it is acted on by an external force. If the body is at rest it remains at rest”.

Once you get started it is easier to stay in motion, but the most difficult part is that first movement — the first action. Little by little your actions will gather momentum, and before you know it you will have achieved your goals. A wise friend once said,

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“It’s only by starting to walk on the path that you can know for sure if you have taken the correct path.”

Make a start.

Choice

I remind myself that being successful is not necessity but choice. Most of the things that frustrate us and irritate us are completely self-inflicted. They are standards and goals we set for ourselves and if we don’t achieve them we are disappointed, upset and annoyed!

So, instead of saying things like “I have to finish this work” or “I need to write one chapter of my book before I can go have fun” change it to “I want.” When you empower yourself to make your own choices these jobs and tasks become easier. Here are some examples:

“I want to finish this work before I relax with the family because I know I can then devote my time and attention to them afterwards.”

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“I want to write one chapter of my book because I enjoy writing and I will be happy if I achieve this.”

Remind yourself of the things that you want to achieve and the reasons why. The choice is yours.

Accountability

Statistics say that you are much more likely to achieve something if you tell other people about it. The New Year’s resolutions you promise yourself rarely work. Even if you promise your spouse or partner your likelihood increases slightly but not usually enough to make it happen. But, if you commit to a stranger, a coach or a counselor your chances shoot up.

Why is it we value other people’s opinion of us more than we value our own?

We let ourselves down regularly but are reluctant to let others down. If you want to take action tell somebody about it, tell someone you respect what you are going to do and ask them to check up on you. At the same time it can do no harm to try to respect yourself more and deliver on your personal commitments.

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As Picasso says we cannot reach success without action; there needs to be movement towards the goal for things to start to happen.

What are your tips for getting started and taking action to become successful?

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

More by this author

Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

It’s also unnecessary.

Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

“It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

The Fake Inbox Zero

The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

Have zero inboxes.

The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

Stop Faking It

Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

More Productivity Tips to Get Organized

Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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