From the time you start work until the last e-mail read, you’re off to the races, working hard.
Grinding over yesterday’s work and trying to catch up on what is due tomorrow. Busy, you feel like you’re moving forward.
As the end of the day approaches you stop. Take a breathe and realize you’ve been running on a treadmill all day and haven’t made any progress.
You’re in motion but not taking action.
Does this sound familiar? Have you ever gotten to the end of the day and felt no further ahead? If so, you might want to try prioritizing action over motion.
Action vs. Motion tasks
Motion tasks have no defined end and don’t produce a specific outcome. Without a clear measure of when to stop, it can last forever.
Research, learning, and planning are typical motion tasks to get caught up in.
How often have you spent too much time:
Researching and not enough time compiling your results?
Master something new, when you only needed the basics?
Constructing the perfect plan, rather than putting it into practice?
It’s not to say that these tasks do not contribute to your growth. But overcommitting to motion tasks are common because they’re comfortable.
While action tasks have a defined end and provide a clear binary outcome: yes or no, success or failure.
Requesting a raise (yes/no)
Writing and submitting a report on time (success/failure)
Soliciting a sale (yes/no)
Writing this post is an action task. My desired outcome is to publish a post every Tuesday and that is how I rate my success or failure.
Here are a few more examples:
Network with potential clients
Make a direct ask for a sale
Reading about a new skill
Putting learning into practice
Planning a strategy
Applying steps in your strategy
Research a diet plan
Eat a healthy meal
Prepare customer research
Write research findings
Each of these action tasks provides a direct outcome, while the motion tasks have no defined end.
Why it’s easy to work on motion tasks
Motion tasks are less intimidating. Without a quantifiable result, there is no measure of success and therefore you can’t lose.
It’s easier to network (motion) than ask for a sale (action).
Less pressure to learn (motion) than put into practice (action).
Simple to research (motion), than come up with a conclusion (action).
Fear is the primary reason we’re not prioritizing action over motion.
FEAR of not being prepared, educated or experienced.
FEAR of disappointment, criticism, or loss.
FEAR of failing and not achieving our desired result.
Making excuses for not prioritizing action over motion to avoid facing these fears. Today more then ever we need a proactive approach in overcoming them.
Prioritizing action over motion
Here are the questions I ask myself when prioritizing action over motion.
Where do you spend most of your time?
What is the ratio of action and motion tasks?
What desired outcome are you looking for?
2. Setting Priorities
What action tasks can 10x your growth?
What can you do in prioritizing action over motion?
3. Taking Action
Are you prioritizing the action tasks which 10x your growth?
Where are they scheduled in your calendar?
In the morning before I check emails, make phone calls or attend meetings I already know what my 3 highest payoff tasks are for the day.
Scheduled in my calendar, I prioritize these over everything else.
Try planning your week in advance. Prioritizing action over motion by determining one action task for each day.
Follow the question framework above or come up with your own. The key is to raise self-awareness around where you spend your time, identify action tasks, and make them a reality every day.
Engaging daily in action tasks will help 10x your progress towards your goals.