Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Art of Just Do It (JDI)

You heard about the Just-Do-It method numerous of time. Countless of gurus and non-gurus had mentioned this simple yet magical method of getting things done. No doubt, you might have implemented this method with varying degree of success. Then, somehow, along the way, something happened. You don't think that JDI is just a simple one-step method anymore. There is something more complex, deep, and philosophical about JDI. This simple and profound method failed to work for you because you don't grasp it true meaning. Right? RIGHT!?

The truth is the phrase "Just Do It" is rather vague. This means different people can define different meaning to this word. Below are a few examples of what JDI may mean:

  • Do the first thing that comes into your mind
  • No prior planning / Plan as you go
  • If you don’t have the necessary resources to complete the task, improvised and use workarounds.
  • Mind like water / React to the current situation and needs
  • Do the task regardless of failure or success
  • Ignore your emotion resistance / Do the task regardless of your current mood
  •  Do the task until you have completed it even if the quality does not met your expectations / Sacrifice perfection for completion / Finish what you started
  • Do the task now / There is no appropriate time to do the task
  • If you can't predict the outcome, don't worry about the outcome until it happens / Don't cross the bridge until you have come to it

Which of the above is the true meaning of JDI? The answer is "All of the above”. You see, JDI is not so much a method as it is a philosophy - an inadequately-defined philosophy. Don't worry; I will try to define this philosophy to its utmost completion in this article.

The JDI philosophy

There are three components of JDI: The creative process and The Drive to Completion and The Warm-up. We can also categorize the virtues above into these three components.

The JDI components

The Creative Process

Our brain is split into two hemispheres: right and left hemisphere. Generally, one side of our brain specialized in linear thinking while the other side specializes in abstract thinking. In any task completion endeavor, we generally have to use both sides of our brain in order to get the best results that we can from ourselves.

When it comes to planning and strategizing, we rely more on our linear thinking capability. Planning is a highly linear, logical, and proactive process, provided that we know how to use the appropriate planning tools. Our options and choices are evaluated objectively; least we made the wrong choices. The consequence of our actions, and futures threats are made provision for.

When it comes to actual execution of our plan, we rely more on our abstract thinking capability. Generally, our plan contains milestones and objectives that we need to achieve but lack the step-by-step information on how to achieve our objectives. Thus, our abstract reasoning, lateral thinking, creativity, and reactive nature are relied upon to provide the instructions and solutions that our linear thinking cannot provided.

Following the JDI philosophy means using our creativity to provide the instructions for our task. However, JDI should only kicks in when we are dealing with the process of executing our plan. Planning still comes first.

The process flow showing how JDI plays into task completion

The Drive to Completion

The process of completing a task doesn't just involve planning and plan executing. There is a human condition called emotional resistance. Generally, emotional resistance happens when you don't feel like doing what you are supposed to do without a valid justification. In other words, you are not "in the mood" of doing the things that you plan to do or consider important to do.

There are many causes for emotional resistance. Below are some which you may recognize:
  • Financial anxieties - debts, bankruptcy, lack of money
  • Relationships issues - broke ups, divorces, infatuations
  • Job issues - lack of progress, late starters, lost of opportunities
  • Too much happiness issue - sudden increase in wealth, requited love, promotions

As you had read from above, our emotional resistance towards our current task doesn't necessary originate from bad events in our life? It can originate from good events too. Heck, it can be anything. Therefore, it is (usually) a waste of time to overcome our emotional resistance thru root-cause analysis and root-cause treatment. It is easier and faster to overcome our emotional resistance thru good-old fashion discipline and drive.

Our drive for task completion regardless of our emotional resistance is the other vital component in JDI philosophy. The drive to completion comprises of our willingness to sacrifice our short term-comfort, and to work hard and long in order to met our objective regardless of the odds, the circumstances, the venue, the available resources, the time of the day, our moods, our disability, our predicaments, our emotions, and our expertise. Lastly, the drive for completion stresses that completion takes priority before perfection.

The Warm-Up

There is a quasi-component of JDI which is called the Warm-up. This component shares a lot of similarities with The Creative Process thus why I called the Warm-Up a quasi-component. We engage in our Creative Process throughout of our effort to complete tasks as outlined in our plan while we only engage in the Warm-Up prior to sufficient planning.

In real life situation, our mind more often than not tends to become blank whenever we engage in planning processes. By blank, I mean that our mind totally cannot think or output any meaningful thoughts for the current plan. This peculiar human condition may seem counter-intuitive at first. However, this condition is actually your brain trying to tell you that it doesn't have any good ideas and your own brain is currently not the best source of information for plan creation.

This is the part where we need to engage in some mental warm-up for our brain. By warm-up, I mean that we should seek out relevant external information and inspiration for our plans. Try not to engage in resources intensive warm-up (don't spend too much money or time) for the warm-up process. This is because the Warm-Up process is riddled with false starts. Without proper planning and analysis, false starts are just inevitable.

 The Warm-Up process flow

Limitations of JDI

Now that I have covered all the three components of JDI, it's time to describe the limitation of JDI and what JDI is not about.

#1 JDI is not the be-all-end-all

If your goals are anything more complicated than a pre-school project, a plan is mandatory. You need the best plan that your brain can produce in order to achieve your goals.
 A lot of people would mistaken believe that JDI means not needing a plan because they stumble upon the Warm-Up component which takes places prior to proper planning. However, without a plan, your resources would not be managed properly and you will never be able to produce the best outcome possible to you.

Most people would think that JDI is the be-all-end-all of goal achievements. However, this is only true for simple goals where false starts and wasted resources are easily waived. It would be suicidal to just do it if you cannot afford to lose the resources that you are about to invests in the tasks.

#2 JDI does not come with priorities steering

JDI is the workhorse of task completion and the use of JDI should be limited to such. Any issue involving conflicting priorities of two tasks or two goals should be deal with proper priorities steering techniques (see Principle of Least Importance on how to do so). You can't "just choose it" when it comes to priorities.

#3 JDI does not come with emotion management

The Drive to Completion of JDI philosophy may cause harm to your emotional well-being in long term unless you know how to manage your emotions. I will leave emotional management to another topic. For now, just know that suppressing your emotions doesn't necessary erase those emotions. The suppressed emotion may come back to haunt you a hundredfold.

End Note

JDI is used the minute task-to-task completion activity and it is useful to generate ideas for our plans, combat our emotional resistance, and drive us to complete our tasks. I hope that I had explained in a satisfactory manner on what JDI philosophy is actually about.
Let me know if I have missed out anything. In the meantime, stay focus and stay happy.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a brilliant tool - I have never seen Just Do It as a workflow!
    Life Coach Sydney