Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Default To Do


There are a lot of important concepts in James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits.” 

As I was moving 700MPH at 30,000 feet yesterday a particular concept moved from ambiguous to granular, and slapped me out of my middle seat. 

There are two kinds of activities. 

Motion Activities

These are not insignificant. Planning, white-boarding, and mind-mapping can help get a project off the ground. “Get things moving” so to speak. 

But motion activities can be infinitely deceptive. Motion activities lead you to believe your moving. You’re getting somewhere. You’re accomplishing your goals. You’re living the dream. 

The significant problem being: you are not.  

Nothing really happens until we engage in the second kind of activity.  

Action Activities

Project planning is not project-doing. 

Outlining a book isn’t writing a book. 

Sketching a blueprint is not building a structure.  

Some people (like me) have a great aptitude for motion activities but struggle with the action activities. 

I’m a planner. And I’m actually pretty good at it. Strengths, training, and predilection position me to be a great oracle. Give me a blank sheet of paper, and I can get a project ideated, planned, and researched.  

Here’s the catch: ideation, planning, and research don’t get it done. 

I do argue that this is a both/and situation. But, whatever your personal proclivity, action activities should take precedence over motion activities every time. 

Do then iterate. 

I tend to reverse the two. It’s the wrong approach. We can plan and ideate on the fly. 

I need to switch my default to do.