Ia drawing of a black branch with 9 gold stars hanging from pieces of string.

Getting Nothing Done? Your Experiment is a Success!

When you set out your plan for the week, you are guaranteed success…at least in my books.

Either you are going to get your list done or you are going to find a method that doesn’t work.

Either way, you have moved forward and that’s a reason to celebrate.

Here are some gold stars for your celebration!

a branch with 9 gold stars tied on to it with string.

I can hear the voice in your head saying “But how can I have success if I didn’t finish my work?”

I completely get that, but I think that means you have misunderstood the experiment you were running.

The Nature of the Experiment

I like to think of each day or week as an opportunity to figure out what works for us.

We need to know if our schedule is too crowded, or if we need a long list or short one, or if we think we can get more done on a given day than we actually can.

The only way to find out if something works for us is for us to try the plan.

So, if your list for the day has twenty items on it and you only got three done, that’s not a failure. That’s an indication that your list was too long, that you had too many interruptions, or that your working conditions were less than ideal.

There is no point in being hard on yourself about what you did get done. And there is definitely no point in being hard on yourself about what you didn’t get done.

You need to find out what’s going on and then change your approach.

The Rest of the Procedure

After you have tried your plan and found that it didn’t work, your next step isn’t to be hard on yourself.

Your next step is to reevaluate the parameters of the experiment.

You know one approach that doesn’t work – so ask yourself, what got in the way of the plan?

  • Do you need to have a shorter list?
  • Do you need to delegate some things?
  • Was something ‘off’ about your work environment?
  • Did you underestimate the time you would need for your projects?
  • Do you understand what your various projects entail?
  • Do you have the resources you need to do them?

Once you figure out what wrench got thrown into your work, you can figure out how to get that tool out of there and get it working for you instead of against you.

You can make a new plan and adjust your expectations for your next work sessions.

Your Takeaways

If you don’t clear your to do list, it is never a sign of failure on your part. It’s a sign that some part of your work system needs tweaking.

Have a look at the factors that prevented you from working, and adjust as necessary.

A Question

As you make your plans for next week, consider this question:

What factor is most likely to affect your work schedule and how could you adjust for it?

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