Do That Thing Now

What is “Do That Thing Now?”

‘Do It’ – The Final Summit by Andy Andrews


  • Focus on one thing until done
  • Work on tasks by biggest impact.
  • Distraction free.
  • Multitasking is counter productive.
  • Record all the things.
  • Take breaks.
  • Perfection is impossible

Focus on the One Thing

There is a story about Charles Schwab, in the early 1900. A man by the name of Ivy Lee told Charles Schwab he could improve his productivity with one simple technique. Ivy told Mr Schwab he could pay him later what he thinks it is worth.

The tip is, every night before bed write down the top 5 tasks you need to get done the next day. Order them by priority. Then work on the top task until complete. Go to the next.

A week later Mr Schwab gave Ivy Lee $20,000. In the early 1900’s $20,000 was a lot.

Work on Tasks by Biggest Impact

I try to choose the task that will have biggest impact for me that day. Now, this might not be the most important thing. Example, most important I call my CPA about up coming IRS audit, but if I get that video finished and posted it will lead to blog posts, twitter posts, Facebook entries, etc. So, I’ll get the video finished, then call the CPA.

Something else I do, first thing in the morning I take 30-60 minutes and do as many small/short tasks as I can. These will be things like replying to emails, responding to team member on slack, etc. You will be amazed at how many of these short/small tasks build up. Taking some time at the beginning of the day can remove them from your mind. But take no more than 60 minutes, and try to make it shorter. After a while there will not be as many of these short tasks to do.

Distraction Free

Turn off mail, phone, social media, all notifications and alerts. It can be very hard to get back to The Thing once distractions start. I have found that hours as gone by when I get distracted, reply to email that leads to scanning twitter, which leads to some linked website, then back to Facebook, next thing I know 3 hours have gone by and I have not even started That Thing. I know what your going to say, I can’t turn off my phone or email, I understand but try to remove as many distractions as possible. Do you really need Facebook, twitter, pinterest, linkln, etc, open.

Record All Things

As you go though the day, tasks and stuff will come into your focus. Do not try to remember anything, write it down or record it somewhere. And, it is best if this is the same place where you track all your tasks/things. If you try and remember something, you will forget somethings, that is just human nature. Unless your Sheldon Cooper, :)).

This brings up another lesson I learned many years ago. Only use one task manager and calendar. Don’t use one for work, and personal. Things will get lost or double scheduled. There have been times when I tried to use a work calendar and personal calendar, but then I’ll schedule a meeting when my kid has a doctor appointment. This is very important for those that run their own business. You are only ONE person so use only ONE time tracking system.

Take Breaks

Working on a task for hours at a time is almost as bad as not working at all. You’ll find your self getting burned out, frustrated or not able to concentrate. Taking a short 5-15 minute break will help with getting that thing done. This beak can be going to the restroom getting coffee, or even taking a short walk. When you get back, you’ll find that you are able to get on with the task with laser focus.

There is a popular methodology called Pomodoro.(pomodoro means tomato in Italian). With this you work for a specific amount of time, then take a short break. I have used 45/15 and 25/5, both work well. Also, take a longer break 3-4 cycles in, this usually goes with lunch.

Perfection Is Impossible

For those big important tasks, you will never get it perfect, that is just impossible. You will come to a point where you’ll need to stop and consider it finished, it might not be perfect or even good enough. Actually, most the important stuff will never be good enough. I have found my self writing, editing and redoing a blog post for hours. When I should stopped earlier and posted.

Is this even possible?

Now I can hear you saying, this is impossible, I can’t do this everyday. Well, you are right, you can’t do this everyday. This is set of goals or processes not an end all. There will be days when not matter how hard you try, you are not able to get even one thing done. That is reality. Reset and get back on it the next day.