The Secret To Why The Secret To Getting Things Done Isn’t Working For You

How can there be these hidden secrets to success/getting things done if everyone keeps telling us what they are? And how can it be a universal reveal if not everyone agrees on what the secrets are in the first place?


We love hearing secrets because there’s nothing that puts us in a frenzy more than not knowing something someone else knows, especially when it comes to the things we want in life: the money, the job, the girl, the guy, the happiness.

And so when we struggle with getting done what we (think we) want to get done we search for an angle, for some help, for a tip, for a … secret, or better yet, a numerical list of secrets.

That’s how we get lost in the web of 734 different online verticals for half a day.

Try this app. Read this article. No, this one. No! This one. Ok no, this one. Do This. I can’t believe you didn’t know that. Oh just click this link you procrastinating sloth! You know you want to!

The irony is that a bunch of people who were able to sit on their asses long enough to do something are now part of the distraction keeping you from doing what you need to do.

The clients that I’ve worked and the readers I’ve connected with fall mostly into 3 pools of stagnation:

  1. They knew what they were supposed to do they just weren’t doing it, i.e. Lazy and looking for a shortcut
  2. They didn’t really want to do the thing the thought they wanted to do, i.e. Confused and looking for motivation
  3. They knew what they wanted to do, had put in a decent amount of work but were overwhelmed with deciding what they needed to do next, i.e. Driven and looking for insight

The third group was not densely populated.

Here’s the secret no one tells you about: Most of us don’t want to do the work to get stuff done, we want the shortcut to the results that work would get us, or we want someone else to motivate us enough so that we can then get what we want.

Admit it.

Unfortunately, you can polish the work, you can outsource some work, you can put off some work, you can prep to work, you can intend to work, but no matter which way you look at the prism, a whole lot of work still has to be done.

As an engineer by trade I go back to the definition of Work in physics: W = Fs. Work equals force multiplied by distance. (Think of an ox tilling the land.)

For us in our lives, it’s W = Ft: Work equals Focus multiplied by time.

If you don’t know how to do something specifically like building a website, writing code, editing video, or creating a slow-motion graphic, then yes, there is some in depth insight, specific know how, and how-to’s that can help you learn a task, a trade or a skill faster.

But a generalized post about how to get “stuff” done or how to “be successful” is the reason that there are thousands of them written (including my own). It’s general and ambiguous and it’s slanted towards the person writing it and what worked for them.

When it comes to getting stuff done, sometimes it’s taking breaks, sometimes it’s building habits, sometimes it’s being specific, sometimes it’s being vague, sometimes it’s doing what you love, sometimes it’s doing what you need, sometimes it’s having long term goals, sometimes it’s having short term ones sometimes it’s going to sleep, sometimes it’s powering through.

It changes all the time.

The secret to writing more? It’s sitting down and writing more. That’s it. But what habits work for me might not work for you so you have to try, test, tinker and figure out what works…for you…on your own.

And that is what so many of us fail to realize…that we, and what we are doing, is a “forever experiment” that needs personal maintenance, feedback and upkeep.

There are no secrets that will do the work for you. There is only the work that works for you.

(This article was originally posted here)