Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get Committed!

   I've got ideas.  You've got ideas.  All God's chilluns got ideas.

   But do we act on them?  No, usually we file them away, procrastinate on them, and eventually forget them.  Instead we need to get committed.  No, I don't mean to a mental institution; I mean that we need to commit to actually bring these ideas to fruition.

   There are several levels of this.  First is the new-agey affirmation.  Just look in a mirror and say to yourself, "I will do this!" (stating just what it is you will do).  And ta-dah, you've committed to do it, and you'll never procrastinate or forget it.

   ...

   Yeah, right.  Better duck, here come the stinky monkeys!

   Okay, you are indeed now a little bit committed to it.  More than before.  On a scale of 1 to 10, you've probably gone from a 1 or 2 (after all, if it were much higher, you probably wouldn't need such help), to maybe one notch higher.

   The next level is to remind yourself of it often.  Put a sticky-note on the mirror, maybe even the same one where you made the above committment.  Tape a note on the door, so you always see it as you leave.  Set up your iGoogle start page to include your task list from RememberTheMilk.  Eventually you'll get so sick of being pestered about it, that you'll get off your duff and do it just to stop the pestering.

   RememberTheMilk works great for short tasks that I just need to be reminded to get out of the way, like writing this blog entry.  But what about longer-term ideas, like, oh, say, starting a blog in the first place?  You can steal a page from the "Getting Things Done" philosophy, and put the idea's "Next Action" into RTM.  But for most of us, there's something even easier and better.

   You interact with people.  You have friends, neighbors, relatives, colleagues, and probably a boss.  Maybe fellow-members of clubs.  Perhaps you have some minions, henchmen, or other underlings.  (Don't count on zombies though.  They tend not to articulate well enough.)  And of course blog readers (or at least you hope you do).  You can leverage them, to help you commit.

   How?  Very simple.  Just tell them what you intend to do.  You don't need to tell them to remind you, or pressure you, or check up on you.  Just tell them, for instance, "I'm going to join Toastmasters!" or "I'm going to tell my boss how software development should be managed!" or "I'm going to start a blog on daring to speak up, or, uh, fix situations that are wrong, or, um, get things done, and, like, all that... sort of... stuff...."

   Your own mind will apply the pressure.  After all, you don't want to disappoint your adoring public, do you?

   Your turn!  What's your favorite tactic for getting in gear?