3 Ways to Focus on Taking Action

One of the hardest things I try to do is read a good book. After a few pages, I get an idea and put the down to start working.

If there’s something to be done, it burns a hole in my head until I take action.

As a child, sitting around and thinking about things never appealed to me  — it frustrated me beyond belief. In college, I was always the one sleeping twelve hours a night during finals — because I had finished all of my papers and studying days in advance. As an adult, I often receive comments like, “How do you get so much done in one day?”

I used to take that desire for action for granted, not understanding the power it held. Now, I realize just how valuable it can be in creating a fulfilling and wonderful life.

The instinct has been crucial on my quest to an awesome life, guiding me to do what I need to do when I need to do it to achieve a certain goal — with tenacity, purpose, and energy.

Not everyone embraces action so readily, though. When I encounter people who struggle taking action, frustration leaks into my veins. Frustration that their potential isn’t being realized, that their lives aren’t incredibly awesome, that they aren’t as happy as they could be.

If taking action is crucial to success, how can we all become more comfortable enforcing it?

In creating a better, more meaningful life, I find the following tips helpful:

1. Believe you can take action.

That may sound easy, but it’s not. Believe in yourself, and things start changing before your eyes.

Many times, indecision is the fault of insecurity. As Michael de Montaigne once said, “A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.”

Instead of giving in to fear, I believe I will be successful by:

  • Talking with peers I respect to go over my plan and their thoughts on the project
  • Plotting out possible paths and steps to carry out my ideas
  • Visualizing what steps I will take to achieve my quest

Feeling confident affects my power to make decisions more than anything else. When I feed my belief in myself, things change for the better.

2. Avoid stress by all means.

Having tasks to finish is like walking around pulling a parachute. Why would you do that to yourself?

Struggling to trudge through life pulling the weight of unfinished tasks is no shortcut to happiness. Neither is it necessary. Instead of leaving action for later, taking action in the moment can reduce negative stress by an incredible amount.

  • Think about what parts of your life contribute the most stress to your life.
  • Jot down the steps you need to take to eliminate those stressful items.
  • Visualize yourself taking care of each point, once and for all.

Your stress may not evaporate today, but knowing you will get everything taken care of (and how you will do it) helps lessen the pain today.

A clear to-do list and a clean conscious feels like a deep breath of fresh air. A life full of white space has no place for stress.

3. Reduce the steps necessary.

Have you ever read an email various times and put off replying for another day? Do you know how much time you spent reading and re-reading that email every single time?

I cringe at all the time wasted on putting things off for a later date.

I’m keen on efficiency because I know there are ways to do the boring stuff in less time, so I can do more of the awesome stuff with the rest of my day. By focusing on doing things in the moment, I make sure I get more done with less work.

  • By washing the dishes as soon as I finish eating, I avoid having to work harder to scrub them clean tomorrow.
  • By putting my things in the right place from the start, I avoid having to move things around again in the future.
  • By getting my important tasks done in the morning, I avoid having to revisit them time and time again throughout the day.

By freeing up time on mundane tasks like washing the dishes, I make more time for what matters: writing, working, having fun.

I hope these three steps help you do more with less time and achieve greater success in all you strive for.

If you want to embrace action, what can you do today to get a jumpstart on your quest to an awesome life?

Leave your ideas in the comments. I’d love to hear more about taking action in our lives.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.