Productivity Tip: Stop Reading…and Start Doing

posted in: Productivity 2

Image of cyclist riding a bicycle, photography by R. Isip Are you interested in finally making some headway with a new project or endeavor?

Need a bit of help when it comes to taking the plunge?

In this post I address the vicious cycle of collecting information versus putting that information into action.

Hopefully you’ll be inspired to make some much-needed changes in your routine for the better.

We’ve all been there.

You want to learn a new skill/technique/subject and start doing a lot of research.

You start to collect and read various books, magazines, articles, guides, blogs and any other bits of information you can get your hands on. You do a lot of reading and become extremely comfortable with all this wonderful newfound knowledge you’ve attained.

Unfortunately, you’ve gotten so caught up in your research, you forget to take the next step. There comes a point in time when you need to put down the reading/research and get out there to do what you need to do.

Sure, you might feel a bit uncomfortable, scared, puzzled and everything else in between, but there really is no substitute for action!

Chances are you’ve probably got more than enough basic information to get started, be it preparing a soufflé for the first time, writing some HTML or CSS for a website, learning how to play the harmonica or giving a speech, whatever your heart’s desire.

If you’re wavering about whether or not you should do some more research online, read another book or browse through another guide or magazine, you’re probably ready to take the next step.

Here’s a quick, three-step method to help you along:

Step 1: Stop reading.

Step away from and/or put down your reading material of choice. If you’re still feeling a bit shaky, ask yourself why you feel as if you can’t move forward. Be honest with yourself and your feelings. Are you nervous? A bit excited? Or perhaps feeling a bit doubtful? However you may feel, know that is perfectly fine to feel that way.

Step 2: Take a deep breath.

Take a deep breath, hold it for a slow count of five and exhale. Do this as many times as you feel necessary.

Step 3: Start doing.

Take action! Write out those first few lines of code, grab your harmonica and start playing, go shopping for/pull out the ingredients for your soufflé. It doesn’t matter what type of task you take on, as long as you take action, and not read about taking said action.

It really is as easy as that. Now’s the time to set your sight on your target and spring into action!

How about you? What are you going to stop reading about and finally start doing? Who knows where this step will take you next? There’s only one way to find out… Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.

2 Responses

  1. James from

    It can be a vicious circle! You have to limit the amount of time spent on “sharpening the saw” as Covey would say. If you spend all day sharpening the saw, you won’t ever cut down that tree. But at the same time, if you spend the right amount of time sharpening the saw, the tree will go down much faster. It’s all about balance people!

    • Rashelle

      Well said, James, well said!