Propose what you want to do...

Recently I wrote a blog outlining the three steps for getting things done and wanted to take some time exploring the steps a little deeper — what will make this even more fun is my friend Renée Cormier is writing a complementary series of blogs to help with the exploration (see her blog).


I thought I’d start with the first step in the process of getting things done, because unlike a Quentin Tarantino* film, it is important to start at the beginning:

Propose what you want to do

The operative word in this step is “propose” and is important for two reasons. Firstly it’s a verb so it represents action and that’s what getting things done is all about, and secondly, the word represents what needs to be done:

pro·pose [prəˈpōz] VERB — put forward (an idea or plan) for consideration or discussion by others.

At the heart of this is the need to put forward an idea — you need to articulate and illustrate what you want to do. You need this to be done in a way that it’s easy to understand and speaks to how you will measure success with respect to your goal; It is also important to remember your proposal (idea or plan) needs to either solve a problem or take advantage of an opportunity. Proposing what you want to do needs to be as tangible as possible (in a figurative sense for sure, or better yet, literally — everyone likes to play with a prototype).

As part of my thought process (and before I started writing) I read Renée’s first blog and she had outlined five points for consideration:

  • Too much change is counter-productive.

  • Making a decision is still better than never making a decision.

  • Choosing to make the best of your circumstances is a great way to make sure you are successful.

  • Do what makes your heart sing.

  • Do what scares you a little

At first I couldn’t help but think these weren’t really points that help you get things done but rather considerations for establishing goals; that’s when I took a deep breath of recognition that I’d forgotten one of the most important steps regarding getting things done — establish your goals and objectives. In my own defence, I did bury the important of goals (and their alignment) as I expanded on the step, but Renée had reminded me that establishing goals and objectives should be the first step (it seems I didn’t really start at the beginning after all).

With some quick revisions, I am now suggesting there are four steps to getting things done —

Establish your goals and objectives

Propose what you want to do

Debate what you want to do and make a decision how to proceed

Execute on what you want to get done, and do it

I always appreciate Renée’s thinking and blogging — it has helped me develop my own thinking and ultimately some of the blogs I write. I am better for it. This is a nice segue into my next blog on step three don’t you think? I can’t wait to read what Renée has to say because I know it will be thought provoking.


*If you are not familiar with Quentin Tarantino, he is a great writer and director who seems to start many of his films in the middle of the story.

Three simple steps for getting things done...

photo-doing it.jpg

I will admit the title I chose made me cringe a little because I’m always a little suspicious about anything that touts an easy road. How does the saying go again… oh yes, “Anything worth doing is never easy” (or something to this effect). And here I find myself suggesting you can get things done in three easy steps — obviously a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do”. I will admit at this point even I’m a bit curious to hear myself out… before proceeding with some harsh condemnation.

In reality, after some consideration, the steps for getting things done are simple, although progressing through the steps will be complex, and sometimes very complex. So maybe it seems I’ve been a little to premature with suggesting any harsh condemnation. In fact, let’s just shelve the whole idea because I think I’m really onto something.

Propose what you want to do

Debate what you want to do and make a decision how to proceed

Execute on what you want to get done, and do it.

Isn’t this so universally classic… something so simple, yet so difficult — somewhat analogous to starting something and believing it all can be said in in 500 words (or less). I’m not sure if this is overly ambitious or just arrogant. I suppose I should have entitled this, “Three simple steps for getting things done… PART I”


I always like when someone suggests, "I won't be able to do it".

The other day I was in the middle of something and overheard someone say, "He won't be able to finish it tonight" — I was so energized by it!

And here comes the context...

I have acquired some property and building anything permanent is a few years off; in the meantime I want to set up a "Glamping" site so we can enjoy the call of nature in relative comfort, as well as have many of the amenities that make up modern life.

Glamping /ˈglæmpɪŋ/ :

noun: a form of camping in which participants enjoy physical comforts associated with more luxurious types of holiday.  Word Origin — blend of glamorous + camping.

This will involve a large festival tent, queen sized bed, a wood stove, bathroom facilities (including a shower with hot water), an outdoor kitchen and sitting area, as well as available solar power. The only thing that will be lacking is running water  — I suppose I will have to rough it.

As with everything you have to start at the beginning, and in this case the beginning is a platform for the festival tent to rest on. In this particular case the whole thing is meant to be semi- permanent, so the plan is to make the platform out of nine 6' by 6' sections, bolt them together, and put decking on top... this offers the option of dismantling the platform to move at a later date — It was a conscious decision to compromise some stability for portability. I needed 54 (2" x 4" x 6') pieces of pressure treated wood, a bunch of wood screws, a chop saw, and a drill to build what would make up the frame of the 324 square foot platform. Each section would consist of two 2" x 4" x 6' pieces and four 2" x 4" x 69" pieces (3" cut off a 6' piece).

The assembly process started at about six o'clock on a Friday night.

As you can appreciate the first couple of sections took time to assemble as we worked out optimizing the process; overall it wasn't a difficult activity but rather repetitive and definitely tedious. As my helpers began to fade into the background and as talk of having dinner started, I overheard someone utter the words, "He won't be able to finish it tonight". Ultimately, after a quick dinner, I found myself alone in the garage finishing the remaining sections. By ten o'clock all nine sections were complete, the person who suggested that I wouldn't be able to finish all the sections was long gone, and I was now ahead of schedule; attaching the nine sections the next day would be a relaxing activity.

Was any of this difficult? Not really, but it was an exercise in advanced planning, having the right tools, and the desire to get it done. What was said became the motivator to "get it done ahead of schedule".   

In the end, my little project offered up the components for getting something done —

  • Planning (this includes a time and event schedule).
  • The right tools (or resources).
  • The desire to do it. 
  • The motivation to get it done.

It seems motivation is the fuel that makes something happen, and for me, when someone suggests, "I can't do something", it seems to be motivation of the high-octane variety.

Don't ask me why.