I had the idea for my podcast long before it actually launched. In fact, I even had “launch podcast” on my to-do list for months, but it just kept getting pushed to the next day, and then the next day. It never actually got done.
But while I was procrastinating, I started thinking about the actual logistics of creating a podcast. What would I need in order to launch this project? I’d need basic things, like a microphone, and guests.
Eventually, I changed my to-do list. I took off “launch podcast” and added a small simple task: get a microphone. That one was easy — it took just five minutes on Amazon.com.
The next day, I added “find guest for podcast” to my to-do list. I shot out four emails to potential guests that afternoon, inviting them on the show. It took about ten minutes. Check.
Then, I figured out all the other individual steps I’d need to get my podcast published. I thought about things like audio recording software, editing tools, and a podcasting plugin for WordPress. My to-do list filled up with items such as “write podcast description,” and “get intro music.”
Two weeks after my microphone arrived, I launched the Novice No Longer podcast.
So why did it take me so long to get started? Was I just being lazy?
At the time, I thought so. But the solution for my procrastination was actually much more specific. I needed to stop thinking in terms of projects and start thinking about specific action steps.
I’m sure you all have your own ambitious to-do lists. Maybe you want to:
- Build an app
- Launch a website
- Pay off your debt
- Write a book
“Build an app? Sure, I’ll get right on that.” (can you taste that sarcasm?)
But things change dramatically as soon as you start thinking in terms of tasks and start thinking in terms of action items. What if, instead, your to-do list looked like this:
- Ask three friends to look at mockups
- Send email to 15 potential developers
- Find two potential APIs for restaurants
- Get an app icon from Fiverr
Every single one of those tasks can be done in one sitting. The each have a definite action and, more importantly, a definite end. When you check off an item, you’re done with that item and you’re closer to your goal.
Once you make the switch to action items, you’ll never go back.