Dan Beverly

A Quality of Thought: “Starter Action Lists.”

Our thoughts can be so much scarier than reality. We dream things up in unhelpful ways and it keeps us stuck.

And so, it is can be with the ToDo List: where so much of our resistance to getting stuff done is down to (errant) forward-thinking on a task that’s just too big for the daily ToDo List.

And notice problem, there: forward-thinking. Too much Future and not enough Right Here, Right Now!

So, try this little experiment with your ToDo list for tomorrow: think ONLY of Starter Actions.

Take what would have been your regular task list. And for each item, reduce it to the tiniest, kick-starting, action-based action. (That seemingly-tautological statement action-based action is by design! Actions that are, you know, actions.) Now you have a Starter Action List.

For example:

  • Create the big sales presentation {becomes} Launch PowerPoint (big sales presentation).
  • Agree new project dates with Belinda {becomes} Dial Belinda’s number (new project dates).
  • Accelerate the recruitment drive {becomes} Schedule meeting with Alex (recruitment drive).

Many of you probably won’t do this with your ToDo list – but I do hope you’ll experiment with the idea. Because notice now, how this way of thinking takes all the friction and stress out of the task and gets us back to focused, next-step-action.

New habit prompt: what’s my Starter Action for this?

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Dan Beverly

Dan Beverly is a leadership and performance coach helping women in leadership achieve their highest potential.

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