Ever had one of those nights…
Where you lay awake thinking about how you haven’t exercised in months and get this rabid determination that tomorrow, you’ll get up early and smash out a 60-minute workout?
But when 6am rolls around, rather than get up early, you hit that snooze button and keep sleeping like a baby?
And then for the rest of the day, you feel guilty and unsatisfied for not following through on your brilliant 2am fitness plan.
Where did all that motivation from the night before go? Why didn’t you just get up and do it?
It’s not because you’re lazy.
And it’s not because you don’t want to get fit and healthy.
It’s also not from a lack of discipline.
It’s because your excitement got the better of you
When we desperately want to make something happen, we get wildly excited.
And all that eagerness makes us want to go big or go home.
Sadly, going home usually wins.
Take that earlier scenario – we had almost zero hope of following through with a full 60-minute workout, at 6am, after not having done anything for months.
It was too big of a commitment, too early on.
The same thing happens when we start a new project (especially one that could transform our business or lifestyle). We get lost in the excitement of learning something new. And effectively shoot ourselves in the foot with our own enthusiasm.
By thinking too big, we trigger a “just in case” mentality toward our new project; assuming we need to know, do, and be everything before we even start.
And alas, this kind of thinking breeds chaos. Leading to nothing but overwhelm and anxious feelings.
This is why I want to introduce you to the alternative…
Just in time, not just in case
Bingeing – while an excellent way to watch Gilmore Girls – is a terrible way to learn.
Because too much, all at once, switches off our “practice mode”.
And switches on our “procrastination mode”.
In other words, we get lost in the theory and avoid the necessary action.
If you’re a fellow big thinker (the kinder version of overthinker) then you know what I’m talking about.
You probably also know that –
Knowledge isn’t power until it’s applied
So, the key to just in time learning is that it forces focus AND practice:
Instead of filling your head with lessons you’re not ready to implement yet, you work through only what you need to know and do, right now.
Giving priority to your next most significant challenge — not something that might be a problem in a month or even a week later.
It aligns your knowledge and skill development with your reality, so you can use what you learn immediately in your work.
This makes execution easier.
And your next step is more obvious.
Implementation made easy
If you love to learn, but often get stuck, overwhelmed, or just plain excited by all the new material you’re consuming — I suggest using the just in time approach to shift into practice mode.
- Focus on the next, most significant, thing you need to do (a research exercise? a sales script? a first draft?)
- Understand how it will directly affect and propel a current project you have (If I do this research exercise, I’ll have a customer avatar who I can speak to in all my marketing and sales material, which will lead to higher conversion rates for growing my audience. It will also make writing and communicating online easier.)
- Use your course material to create a plan to achieve that specific result within the next week. (Download and print materials, schedule time to consume course material AND do the work, do any exercises as first drafts, review and edit once or twice, make it accessible for use again)
- Rinse and repeat for the next lesson or module
Don’t make the same mistakes I did!
I learned “how to learn” a little too late for my liking (and managed to rack up some significant student debt from being so unfocused).
But once I figured out how to weave what I learned directly into the projects I was working on — my results started to dramatically shift. In a positive direction.
Of course, the first battle is always internal (thankfully you can learn how to mute your inner critic.)
But there is work to be done once our minds are clear and courage sets in.
This is where you need systems to help you do.
And when you stop focusing on everything you have to get done in the future — and focus on what you can do right now…
You ditch the indecisiveness.
You stop skipping steps.
And you start executing instead.
Image courtesy of the CDC, via Unsplash