In a previous article, Do less . . . . . . and end up doing more , I suggested that doing less in order to do more, paradoxically, is the key to productive action and promotes creativity. So how do we get to do less and thereby do more?
Prioritize actions so that what serves your true purpose creates the situation for action. Limit activity by being aware of and by dropping more and more activities that serve no purpose; those that consume energy unnecessarily. And, create mind-space by being in a state where there is no activity, nothing to be achieved, creating unmotivated potential energy.
Here’s a possible practice to perpetually be in creative action:
- List all activities or issues that occupy your time and your mind; everything that is energy-consuming – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, all positive and negative incompletions,
- Indicate which activities or issues involve your being in action and those that are mere activities,
- Re-arrange your list from actions (at the top) and mere activities (at the bottom),
- Starting at the top, prioritizing according to impact on your consciousness, your goals, your mission, your vision, your journey, your destination; ranking by high, medium or low issues,
- Prioritize according to urgency (high, medium, low) and indicate estimated effort,
- Start a new list including only high to medium impact and high to medium urgency action specifically excluding medium-medium and any low priorities. Enter high-highs with least effort on top and high-medium/medium-high and maximum effort on bottom. You now have a list of priorities that demand your immediate attention. Note that once these priorities have been actioned or resolved, your entire list of issues can move up in priority. Low impacts may change to medium or high now that the previous high impact issues have been resolved or they are in creative action supporting your goals, strategic direction, your destiny. Low urgencies may now be considered and prioritized. They may have become more urgent in the passage of time. New issues of varying in impact and urgency may have arisen in the passage of time since.
- Now, split the list between priorities that are of a positive or negative nature, and rank for highest control to lowest control.
- Priorities of low control need conscious processing and priorities of high control require action.
- You should now have a shortlist of positive priorities that you have control over allowing you to apply maximum effort, creative action; starting with those requiring the least effort. Appreciate that action or resolution of the low effort issues, the quick wins, promotes self-esteem. Your creative action that addresses the positive priorities is targeted at the issue, head-on, because you have control. Set objectives for these priorities (what you will achieve, the outcome), rationale (why you are tackling this priority in the first place), strategies (how they will be actioned and by when), and tactics (how-how). Make a commitment with integrity – to do what you say you will do by when you say you will do it. The feeling of being energised by ending incompletions, the positive mind-set, provides strength to tackle the negative issues. Negative priorities that you have control over, you can eliminate through concerted effort, creative corrective action, also because you have control.
- Positive “priorities” that you have no control over, require no action that you can make happen. They are going to happen regardless. You can, however, let them happen and capitalize upon them. Urgency implies that you need to be in action. These priorities requireplanning but deferred action. Do this and “park” them. Similarly, negative “priorities” that you have no control over requireno action that you can make happen because you have no control over them either. You can and should plan to take action to avoid the negative consequences. Do this and “park” these potential issues, as well.