J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Action Guidelines

Action Guidelines

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"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often." -- Mark Twain

I created a consolidated set of Action Guidelines on Getting Results.com.   Taking action is one of the most important skills you can master in this lifetime.  It’s the secret sauce of making things happen at work.   It’s also the secret sauce of making things happen in all areas your life, whether it’s a personal project or personal development.  It’s also how you go from idea to done.

If there’s one attribute that has served me well at Microsoft, it’s having a bias for action.

Smart people with great ideas and great intentions get passed by with people that take action.  When you take action, you put your ideas to the test, you find what works, you scrap what doesn’t, and you carry the good forward.  When you take action, you produce results.  If you don’t like the results, you change the approach, and the fastest thing you can always change is you.

Action Guidelines explains each guideline, and here is the list of guidelines at a glance:

  1. Ask Yourself, “What actions have I taken?
  2. Balance "good enough for now" with "perfection."
  3. Balance your buckets.
  4. Build a library of reference examples.
  5. Build feedback loops.
  6. Build a system of profound knowledge.
  7. Carve out time for what's important.
  8. Check your ladder.
  9. Chunk It Down.
  10. Decide and Go.
  11. Deliver incremental value.
  12. Do a Dry Run.
  13. Do It, Review It, and Improve It.
  14. Do more, think less.
  15. Don't spend $20 on a $5 problem
  16. Establish a rhythm of results.
  17. Expand your toolset.
  18. Get the Ball Out of Your Court.
  19. Have a compelling "what."
  20. Have a compelling "why."
  21. Improve your network.
  22. Just Start.
  23. Know the sum is better than the parts.
  24. Know what you're optimizing for.
  25. Make it work, then make it right.
  26. Manage energy for results.
  27. Model the best.
  28. Play to your strengths.
  29. Put in Your Hours.
  30. Reduce friction.
  31. Reduce your context switching.
  32. Schedule It.
  33. Scrimmage Against Results.
  34. Set a Quantity Limit.
  35. Set a Time Limit.
  36. Start with Something Simple.
  37. Stay flexible in your approach.
  38. Think in terms of a portfolio of results.
  39. Use checklists.
  40. Use focus as your weapon for results.
  41. Work backwards from the end in mind.