One of the hardest things to do is to stop yourself from wasting time, getting distracted or getting involved in things that, in the big picture, matter little.

For example, it is SO easy to get caught up in family or friend drama.  People want others to listen to them, to bounce ideas off of, and sometimes just to vent.  But in the end, the only thing that will help is actionable advice or steps to help them solve the underlying problem.  You can complain all you want, but if you do nothing to solve the problem, it’s not going to improve.   I did this vacant whining yesterday, complaining about a nasty cold I have on twitter.  Many friends were kind and wished me well, which helped me to feel cheerier, but in order to solve this problem, I will have to wait it out and treat the symptoms- if I don’t get sleep, hydrate appropriately, etc., I will likely get worse, not better and the only person I will have to blame is myself.

Another friend was recently speaking about their inability to make traction with a project.  I tried to help them see that if they wanted a certain result or goal, the journey had to be broken down into smaller steps that could be worked on now.  People have a tenancy to look at a large problem and get overwhelmed, forgetting that they probably have more control over the outcome than they imagine, if they would start working on what’s in their control right now.

Part of the secret of getting things done and taking action involves our perspective of time. This great video from The RSA talks a bit about how our perception of time affects our thoughts and outlook on possibilities, and is worth your time to watch:

Just remember, you have more power than you think you do. What you have to do is figure out how to either remove or work around obstacles in your path, and work within constraints, as Seth Godin wrote about so well the other day. Just remember, quite often we confuse constraints and obstacles, at our peril.

Go out and do the things that matter. Avoid th stuff that just sucks your energy and motivation, and do the things that move your pieces forward on the chess board. You can do it. It may take help, it may not be easy, but in the end, you will be much happier when you put verbs in your sentences and start to let the little things, the distractions and minutiae, fall away.

Go. Make a Difference. Ignore the petty crap that sucks up time. You’ll never regret it.