Internships are some of the greatest opportunity for personal growth. They are one of the most effective ways to prepare for being a part of the working world, because you literally are being a part of the working world. Interns aren’t expected to know how to do their job already, they’re expected to learn. For me, a big part of this learning process was continuing to develop my time management process.
In my last blog I wrote about how important planning (specifically the Action Planning methodology) is to get good at time management. Breaking tasks and goals down into bite sized tasks makes it easier to wrap your brain around what specific actions you need to do. In this post I will talk about following through on your planning. I will talk about Doing.
In order for things to get done, you need to do things. As obvious as it is, I think that that simple idea is something that needs to be said. It’s a motto that I live my life by. You can talk about what you want to do for only so long before you need to actually do something. While planning is so important, it can become a method of procrastination. Once you’ve planned enough to get started, you should do exactly that. Many people that I look up to and respect have told me that there’s never a perfect time to start something other than “now”.
The best thing about Action Planning is that it tells you exactly what you need to do. Creating an action plan gives you a road map to take action without over-planning.
As a former and current procrastinator, I know how hard it is to start being productive. That first step is always the hardest. I find that jumping right in is the best approach. Grabbing my list of actions and starting at the top. I find a time that I need to be productive, and I just start with the first thing that I need to do.
Our brains get in the way of us doing things sometimes. We’re constantly trying to figure out what we’re going to do next. By planning ahead what actions we need to take, we can partially turn off the planning part of our brain and just do what we need to do.
This is the easy part. You have your actions, you’ve started working; now you can just ride the wave. As soon as you finish a task, you can immediately start another action. You’ve removed the need to plan in between tasks by planning ahead and allowing yourself to focus on the doing.
I’ve found that working to complete actions instead of finish goals is a much healthier way to work. I’ll run through an abstract example of this:
Imagine that you have 2 major projects that you want to accomplish in a week. Now imagine these projects as huge buckets full of water. By the end of the week you have to drink both large buckets of water. Each day, you can drink a little bit and eventually you’ll have completed your goals. This gives you two points of accomplishment: one for each bucket.
Using Action Planning, each project is broken into smaller tasks. Going back to the analogy, each bucket is broken down into cups of varying sizes. Now, instead of having 2 huge buckets you have several smaller cups. This gives you more points of accomplishment, as each day you are able to empty several cups.
Taking action and doing isn’t easy. It’s more of a mindset that you have to push yourself to get into. Action Planning makes it easier to get into that mindset by removing the need to plan while you’re doing.