In case you haven’t heard, people don’t like to follow through with their plans. As Shia Labeouf once said in a historically hilarious video, “Yesterday, you said tomorrow, so JUST DO IT!” The problem is, just doing it doesn’t get it done.
Sure, you can get little things done like cleaning your room in a day. That’s easy, right? You get up off of your couch and make your bed, tossing undone laundry here and there in total disregard of your items’ value. Then, enjoying a serene, comfortable room, you smile to yourself and return to your recliner. Thanks, Shia, I really did just need to do it.
But what about when I have to keep doing it or you simply can’t do it yet. Suddenly just doing it isn’t the most helpful advice. It’s kind of like telling a depressed person to stop being sad. Sure, that’s the end goal, but as far as advice goes, that isn’t helpful.
Imagine you have a big project due. Actually, if you’re a modern human living a developed nation with an education system or a job that values autonomy, you proably do have a big project due at some point. The thing that matters most right now is getting that project done in a reasonable fashion– you know, not waiting to the night before to get started on it. (Yes, this is what we all do)
So, the natural thing to do, or so we’ve been told, is to strut over to your calendar and start marking away, adding little instructions to one little box at a time. The obvious truth is that barely any of us actually get as far as writing any more on our calendars than one or two boxes at some given date. I’m guilty of it right now— er, I should say I was until I did my research.
So, the solution is simple, we just write on MORE boxes, right? Not so fast. Writing stuff on calendars still isn’t going to cut it. We need to make plans. And I’m not talking plans that you can tell someone in a fleeting conversation, I mean full-proof, detailed plans.
When we want to fight against the stress-inducing monster that is procrastination, we need the beast weapons in our arsenal. If all you’ve brought to fight the beast was a vague and dainty dagger, you’re in for trouble. You need the arrows of when, the pocket-bombs of where, and the blades of how.
If your idea of getting something done lingers over a day in its entirety, you can typically kiss your goals goodbye. It doesn’t have to be that way though. When you actual have an elaborate set of steps required to help you achieve your goal, it helps. A lot. Seriously. When taking advice from Shia, don’t “just do it.” Plan to do it and then follow through.