How to get things done

Have you ever had something you wanted to get done and looked for a way to help make it happen?

Yeah, me too.

Have you ever really surprised yourself by achieving more than you thought possible at something then wondered how on earth you managed it?

Yep, I’m in that camp too.

This week I’m taking a look at one of the ways to boost performance in whatever it is you need to get done. 

For many of us we’re approaching one of the busiest seasons of the year. You know the one where you need to...

  1. Find the perfect gift for everyone.
  2. Produce 6 Christmas Fair contributions all worthy of 'The Great British Bake Off'.
  3. Spin another dozen plates all while exuding joy and goodwill to all mankind.

’Tis the season to be jolly (….almost!)

Do you remember that time you signed up to run a 5K? You trained by dragging yourself round the local park. The best you’d managed running by yourself was 35 minutes. Come race day - you smashed it in 28 minutes!

Or that time you wanted to get healthy. You’d tried a few times to do it by yourself. Cutting back the calories and trying to get to the gym. You didn’t get very far.

Then you signed up to that programme, that class. The one where you had to turn up every week and got emails every day. All you had to do was follow it. Stick with the instructions and recommendations. You lost 10 pounds and had never been fitter.

What made the difference to goal success? 

I was driving the other day. It was a sizeable journey. A kinda long boring one.

I was aware of a van on my tail. He overtook me and pulled in. I could see from his livery that he was from my neck of the woods. I wondered how far he had to go. Were we headed to the same place? How far up this boringly long road would be both be travelling?

I found myself keeping pace with him.

I’m not a super-competitive person so it wasn’t as though I wanted to overtake him and ‘win’ at this journey we were both on.

No, I just found myself thinking ‘Here’s someone else who’s on the same road as me and a long way from home’. Weirdly it felt like I’d found a bit of a travelling companion.

We tag tailed each other for miles and miles. Sometimes me leading, sometimes following.

We travelled this way for the longest time until I realised I was signalling left at some lights while he was going straight on. I pulled up alongside and looked over.

The driver smiled, saluted and then pulled away.

It got me thinking.

For those few hours we’d subconsciously become each others pacemaker. Chances are our journey time had been sizeably trimmed just because we’d found a like minded person to spur us on.

Your 5K race? Why do you think you did so well? 

You were surrounded by pace setters!

The importance of pace setters

You might not have necessarily wanted to beat them but they carried you along making you perform just a bit better than you would have done on a solo run.

Your health kick? Of course you did better than you had done on your own! You had a pace setter. Someone to help establish your goals and set some deadlines. Someone to help boost your performance.

For the last 3 months or so I’ve been taking part in a business challenge along with fellow members of the Content Marketing Academy. The challenge I set myself was to write one blog piece every week for 90 days.

I know for a fact that had I set myself that goal in isolation, with no fellow participants to check in with every week, no-one to be held accountable to, no visual evidence of progress and no deadline to work to, my chances of success would’ve been greatly reduced.

But I had found a great pace setter in Chris at the Content Marketing Academy. He set a pace that resulted in me performing better than I might otherwise have done had I attempted the challenge on my own. We were carried along like the runners in your 5K.

Now, as with your 5K race, not everyone made it. Inevitably some fell by the wayside. But for many of us it was the perfect performance boost we needed.

Get yourself a pace setter

When you need to get something done, whether it’s a project or a challenge you’ve set yourself, a great way to boost your performance is to find yourself a suitable pace setter.

So what makes a good pace setter?

A good pace setter stretches you to the outer limits of your self assumed capabilities and leads you in pushing yourself beyond it.

A good pace setter creates an environment of trust. Trust that they’re setting a realistic pace and one that is, in fact, achievable if you can just stick the distance with them. 

A good pace setter creates a feeling of support. Either the support that comes from their own experience of tried and tested ways or maybe just the knowledge that you’re both on the same path at the same time, like me and my fellow traveller,  but often that’s enough to have you ‘keep up’ with them and achieve your goal.

A good pace setter, having done the ground work, can fall away and you’ll be able to sustain that pace by yourself all the way to meet your goal and beyond. 

Do you need a Christmas pace setter?

So back to our upcoming Christmas season. Would you benefit from a pace setter to help you get everything done?

Here’s my recommendation.

I love Cynthia’s approach and I’ve been following it for years now. I love that it follows a six week programme that’s all laid out for you, just like my 90 day blog challenge. All you have to do is follow the programme and do the work. 

The six week schedule is designed to start in late October and have you ready by early December (Imagine that!!). It’s a week in already but the dates are easily adjustable if you want to jump on board.

I love that it’s completely free and Cynthia provides helpful printable planner pages so that you can keep track and chart your progress.

I love that everything has been considered from the obvious stuff like gifts and cards to the things that catch us out like what everyone in the family’s going to wear.

I love that there’s a Facebook page where you can share experiences with likeminded Christmas organisers.

I love that Cynthia has been running this site for over 20 years so it’s crammed full of useful hints and tips.

No I’m not on some sort of commission! I just love to share great resources.

Do you have any similar ‘pace setter’ sites that you use? For Christmas or anything else in your life? 

I'd love to hear about them so that we can all benefit from a bit of a performance boost!
Please share your recommendations below.




Written by Lynn McMurray

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