How To Get Sh*t Done

Patrick Willer

Got your New Year’s Resolutions set? How about your company targets?

Setting them is the easy part — materializing is harder. And yet there is only one critical skill that you need. It’s a skill that you rarely see in any HR competency libraries, but it’s the mother of all skills and potentially the most crucial skill in business. I’m talking about getting sh*t done!

It doesn’t matter how good your plan or strategy is. Without execution, it’s nothing.

Getting sh*t done amplifies all other competencies.
Getting sh*t done is a catalyst for success.
And… getting sh*t done is a skill everybody can learn.

How do successful people get sh*t done?
They just do it! That’s it? Yes, that’s it. If you narrow it down, the Nike mantra sums it up perfectly.

So… how can you get sh*t done?

The first step is to qualify your commitments. Get in line with your own capabilities and know – based on instinct – what you can and cannot do. Develop a sensor for what’s important and what’s not.

Every time you don’t follow up your own promise, you have destroyed your momentum to get sh*t done. And this works the other way around too: You build confidence and self-efficacy by getting sh*t done.

So… set your best realistic goals. Think of your strategy how to get there. Start your journey. And don’t stop till you’ve reached your destiny.

Then make a routine out of it. Slowly develop new habits that help you to focus on the things you like to get done. It really is as simple as that. Everybody can change habits; it’s just a matter of doing it one step at the time.

5 tips to get sh*t done

Once you have set your goals and developed your routine, it’s a matter of focusing on your journey. Here are 5 tips that helped me:

  1. Procrastination is the enemy. Recognize this? You’re trying to get sh*t done, but the website you are reading takes too long to load and before you know it, you’ve alt-tabbed yourself to other websites or applications that dissolve your focus. Stop scratching the surface and deepen your attention on the task at hand. In short: Don’t be a tabcoholic.
  2. Write the three most important things to do down on a piece of paper. And then execute them. This is the oldest trick in the book. I know — it sounds too simple, but it works like a charm. That’s because our mind plays tricks on us. If you don’t make up your mind on the three most important tasks for the day, you’ll start surfing from one task to another, potentially evading the tasks that are most important.
  3. Get a note app to store any sudden ideas. That way you don’t have to spend too much time and energy on them. You just park them until the right moment to execute them. I use Wunderlist for this and an old-fashioned bloc note.
  4. Throw away your television, salivate to repetition, levitate this ill condition now. It’s a repeat.” This is a fantastic tip from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It buys you time and – even more important – it doesn’t clutter your mind with commercial nonsense.
  5. And finally: Read. Reading helps to execute in many different ways:
    • Reading requires focus. Reading actually trains your brain to focus, and focusing is a prerequisite to getting sh*t done.
    • Reading is a fantastic measure on how focused you are. If your thoughts are going all over the place while you’re reading, you’ve loaded too much into your brain without structure. There are ways out: meditation and rest. Reading can provide both.
    • Read books about getting sh*t done. There are a lot of them:

What about creativity and “grabbing the moment?”

In a creative process, doing is much more important than the definition of what you are doing. Most of the world’s greatest inventions came to life through serendipity, or accidental circumstances in which creative people were focused on doing — they got in a flow and they created. That is also the reason why re-creation is so difficult.

Getting sh*t done should never get in the way of being creative.

However, those creative circumstances are not 24/7 around us. It’s a matter of tuning into that creative vibe when needed and consciously turning back to a routine of execution to turn ideas into action.


You can get more sh*t done, and you can help people around you to get more sh*t done. It’s all a matter of getting into the right flow, with the right attitude. Balancing creativity and the power to execute is an extremely powerful combination. It can make a person attractive — and a team invincible.

Looking for more ways to get sh*t done? See 5 Ways To Improve Workplace Productivity.

Original post can be found here.

About Patrick Willer

Patrick Willer is a Workforce Innovation Consultant at SAP, responsible for helping organisations to maximize the effect of their workforce. In practice this comes down to discussing the clients strategy and evaluate together how technology can help the total workforce to execute the companies strategy.