The “No Shit” List: Resolutions for the Rest of Us

Stating the ObviousHere we are, just a couple of weeks from New Years. Millions of people are diligently working on their resolutions for 2009, millions more will come up with something a few minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve. As someone who has taken resolutions seriously, and also given up for years on the frustrations of constant goal setting, disappointment and readjustment, I’ve whittled my resolutions down to what I call the No Shit Principle.

No Shit is a double entendre. No shit as in “No Duh”, and No Shit as in “no BS”, or, no excuses. And that’s pretty much the long and the short of it. I whittle my resolutions down by two criteria, tasks so blindingly obvious and simple that any idiot could do them, and tasks so important that I can’t allow myself any excuses for not getting them done. Why those criteria? Because life is constantly dominated by Really Important Stuff—tasks that suck down all our energy every day before we crap out and go to bed. But guess what. Half the time the Really Important Stuff isn’t nearly as important as you think it is—it’s really just the stuff you’re comfortable doing because it’s a well-worn path, and it makes you feel productive. So steal a little time back to explore a new path with your own list. No shit. It’s easy.

The “No Duh” List
This list is for simple things that don’t need a lot of thought, either to figure out what needs to be done, or how to do it. This is the kind of stuff that stays on the bottom half of your to-do list forever because you’re always too busy taking care of Really Important Stuff. But everyone needs small victories, because successfully achieving small goals is a huge success factor in tackling and achieving big ones.

Samples from a “No Duh” Social Media List for Marketers

  1. Print out your Google Analytics report weekly and post it above your desk
  2. Set up a Google Alert on your name and your company
  3. Spend 10 minutes using Twitter search to find new people to follow
  4. Use Tweetdeck or PeopleBrowsr to organize your Tweeps
  5. Find an active Facebook Group you’re interested in and start a discussion thread
  6. Find an active forum focused on a hobby you love and post a thread
  7. Answer a question on LinkedIn
  8. Update your profile photo
  9. Find a local Tweetup and go meet real people
  10. Import your feeds into FriendFeed and start a thread

The “No Excuses” List
This is the opposite end of the spectrum, the complex things that take energy to figure out and execute, which is why they never get done. They’re ideals—things you know would make life better, but you never have the time to make them real. So you stay on the treadmill of Really Important Stuff. Now’s the time to figure out what game changers you shouldn’t let linger at any cost.

Samples from a “No Excuses” Social Media List for Marketers

  1. Write an Editorial Calendar for your blog
  2. Search Engine Optimize Your Website, even if you’re on a shoestring.
  3. Deploy a social media monitoring application (Hey, that’s SocialRep.)
  4. Map the social landscape for your business—top blogs, influencers, etc.
  5. Create a social media A-team at your company
  6. Develop a social media marketing plan for your company
  7. Write a strategic social media communications plan and policy
  8. Develop a customer advisory board
  9. Design a video marketing campaign, influencer interviews, or video how-to’s for your product
  10. Start a Tweetup or professional peer meetup

Look at that. A list of 10 blindingly simple things you can do and feel empowered on your way to tackling one or more of the hard things. Now here’s the trick. You’ve got the pump primed with easy things to do right out of the gate, and a daunting list of bigger, but critical challenges. When you’re halfway through the first list, pick an item from the “No BS” list and break it down into “No Duh” tasks that will start you toward the goal. Turns out, there’s a sure-fire “No Duh” routine to do that:

Step 1: Choose the daunting goal.
Step 2: Search the topic on Google
Step 3: Collect 5-10 articles and white papers on the topic
Step 4: Read them. Yeah. Really.
Step 5: Write a list of desired outcomes related to achieving the goal
Step 6: Write a basic plan and task list for getting started.
Step 7: Get started.

Yeah, I know. Rocket science. No shit. So, there’s pretty much no excuse for not tackling the new year with some new energy and interest. What’s your list?

Photo credit: Hryckowian

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