If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do.
— Lucille Ball
With alarming regularity, people ask me how I do it. I’m told by people who don’t know me that it’s impossible to write as much as I do. I’m told that I must spend every waking second writing, and when can I possibly find time to do work. I’m asked what my secret is.
Here’s the secret: just do it.
Don’t think about it, complain about it or worry about it. If you want to get something done, just do it. I’m sick to death of hearing from people who claim I couldn’t possibly do what I do every day. Obviously, I can, and I do. It’s no big deal, and until other people started making a stink of it, it never even occurred to me that it was anything worth thinking about. When I have work to do, I do it. When I feel like writing something, which happens with some frequency, I do it.
My question to others who ask me how it’s possible that I do it is “why can’t you?” Dopey speculation about what I do with my days means nothing to me. Why in the world would it matter to me what someone else thinks I do all day long? I do what I do, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Does it not occur to them how absurd it is to suggest that their projection of their own inadequacies changes anything in my world?
Which brings me to the original point, that busy people just get things done. We don’t procrastinate. We don’t make excuses. We don’t dilly-dally when something has to be accomplished. We sit our butts down, know what we have to do and focus our energies on getting it done.
Whenever a lawyer explains to me that he would like to blog, but can’t find the time in his busy day, he’s telling me far more about himself than he realizes. He’s telling me that he’s not nearly as effective as he thinks he is. He’s telling me he lacks focus. He’s telling me he really doesn’t want to, even though he says otherwise. He can do it. He chooses not to.
It helps if it’s something you like to do, something you desire to accomplish, which makes the task something you want to accomplish. But then, when it comes to work, it has to get done, and get done right, regardless of whether you’re having a great time with it or not. No client wants to hear that you would have gotten his motions in on time but, hey, they just weren’t, you know, fun. Busy people don’t care if it’s fun. They care if it’s done, and done right.
It’s easy to over-intellectualize and over-rationalize the strains of daily life and work. There isn’t a lawyer alive who can’t manufacture a credible excuse for not accomplishing something. It’s one of our strengths. It’s also a lie we tell ourselves to forgive our failure to accomplish things. There are books about “effective traits,” but it doesn’t require a book, or a listicle, or even this blog post. All it takes is the decision and fortitude to get everything done that you want to get done.
There are physical limitations, of course. When I get sent an hour long video to watch, it takes an hour no matter how badly I wish it would take five minutes. When someone sends me a 120 page opinion to read, it takes as long as it takes to read it. There is no magic involved, and I have no tricks to either give me more time in a day or make things that take time go faster. But I don’t take a half hour between tasks to gaze at my navel, watch kitteh videos on Youtube, unless there’s a particular reason why I should. I don’t waste time, and I don’t have much tolerance for my time being wasted. I’m busy.
While Lucille Ball isn’t listed among the great philosophers, and I don’t believe she’s ever been mentioned by Seth Godin, the fact remains that Lucy and Desi accomplished a whole lot more than most of us. They were busy. They were always busy, and because they were always busy, they always got done what they needed to get done.
I’m a busy guy. I’m always busy, because there is always something I have to do, and always something I can do better. So I start busy and stay busy. That means I can write this blog when you can’t manage to find the time and do the work needed to assure that my clients receive the representation they deserve. It’s a no-brainer. Just do it. That’s how busy people do it.