Friday, May 7, 2010

Getting Things Done vs Making Things Happen vs Forcing Solutions

Today I want to think out loud and I trust you will allow me the indulgence.

I have been turning these three notions of getting things done, making things happen, and forcing solutions over and over lately. On the surface the ideas of getting things done and making things happen don’t look all that different. The main idea is get something accomplished and checked off the list…right?

Of course some things are fairly simple, like balancing your checkbook, and getting them done is a matter of sitting down and doing them (okay some of them might require standing but you get the idea).

There are other things that are not so simple; or maybe previously they were simple but they’re not any more, like getting work and finding a living income under the current circumstances. So over time, or maybe right away, you realize that this item can’t just be gotten done and that in some way you will need to step it up and make it happen.

This is where the forcing solutions issue comes in, or least where it comes in for me, for others it might come in at a different point or maybe not at all. I was brainstorming with my son earlier in the week about my ideas for my new blog project and getting work and/or income. I mentioned that it looked like I needed to make something happen, and while in the past I was very good at making things happen recently it feels like I have forgotten how to do it.

But that statement has been grinding on me all week, and not always in a good way. So I started reflecting on memories of making things happen in the past I found something I did not expect.

While there were many times I made things happen because, as the stay-at-home parent in a large active household with volunteer and civic obligations to boot, logistics demanded it. However, there were (have been) many times where I made something happen, i.e. forced a solution, that wasn’t necessary, or the best solution, or done with adequate research, and the results have carried long-term unwanted consequences.

So I do not want to repeat the error of the past but I still want to make something happen. To this end I’ve been looking for a way to find the line in the sand and take care not to cross it while still accomplishing my objectives. Of course this carries the risk of becoming a barrier to moving forward and stalling my efforts to meet my goals and objectives, which would not serve me well either.

Now it’s your turn to speak up. Have you juggled these different approaches to meeting deadlines, or objectives, or just checking things off your to do list? Did you find a difference in results; or your level of satisfaction with the outcome?


What Matters Now – check Gina Trapani’s essay Productivity

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