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Consumed By Metawork: Always Preparing, Never Doing

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“A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.”
George Patton

You may be familiar with this old Abraham Lincoln quote: “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” 

And for many people, that kind of perspective can be a tremendous life changer.

If you’ve been going through your whole life without regard for any preparation, a little preparation will dramatically improve your productivity.

However, there is a flip side to this.

Get too consumed with planning and preparing, and you risk drowning in metawork: tasks that may make you feel productive, but in the end produce no real results without action to back it up.

Real Work versus Metawork

What is metawork?

Metawork, executed properly, is the preparation done to make sure you can effectively do the actual tasks.

Metawork is the planning before you begin. It’s the lectures you attend, the books you read – the courses you participate in to make yourself better, so you can execute better.

Metawork is putting in an hour of work up front so that the next hundred plus hours are more productive.

But, metawork is not enough – it must be accompanied by action – plain old fashioned work that has a direct impact on progress towards completing tasks and achieving goals.

Example: Exercising

A concrete example might help here – consider someone who wants to improve their health by exercising. 

Planning your workout schedule, cardio versus weight training, which exercises to do on which days – these are all metawork.

It’s important to consider them and have a plan of attack, but at some point you’ve got to actually exercise you want any results.

Productive Action Metawork
  • Weight Training
  • Running
  • Planning your Workout Routine
  • Researching Gyms

Are You Bogged Down With Metawork?

Sometimes we THINK we’re working, when really all we’re doing is preparing for work we intend to do someday – work we may never get around to doing.

 If there are any tasks or goals you’ve been planning for a long time, I encourage you to stop planning until everything is just perfect, and go out there and get started. 

Be honest with yourself:  Are you doing this metawork because it’s necessary?

Or are you just bogged down in the preparation – and now using it as an excuse to avoid diving in and getting something done?

Make Progress In Your Life – Now

You don’t have to go it alone. You deserve to make the most out of your life.  Take a moment to review the details about my course The Action Solution. It is the result of decades of experience, and hundreds of hours of making dreams a reality for real people – and it might just be the turning point you need in your life.

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By Sid Savara
Published April 10th 2014
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