Getting it done? or Getting Better

What do you do? Are you a professional? A student? An educator? A kid? A parent?

No matter the answer, I’ll bet you’re busy.


We have a tendency to impress. We take on opportunities that let us show our chops. But eventually we reach saturation.  We’re full. There’s no room to add more.

I love reaching that point. Now, instead of filling the hours, I am faced with a menu of options: I get to say “no” to good and pick the best. Put one thing down to pick up something better.

I’d like to add a layer:

  • How much of your day do you spend getting things done?
  • How much of your day do you spend getting better at the things you do?

When we get busy, we focus on the list. Checking things off in a mad dash to clear the decks. The problem: we always pick more up, or have more thrown at us. You will never be done.

It’s easy to jump into the grind, constantly chasing “complete.”

Here’s the secret: the people at the top of their game aren’t the ones who get the most done. They’re the ones who dedicate themselves to actually getting better at what they do.

Want to be a better student? Studying more could pay some rewards. But learning how to learn? That’s pay dirt.

Want to be a better professional? Doing more work projects could help. Reading and taking continuing education? Exponential.

Peyton Manning never misses practice.

I’m told from time to time that I’m a good teacher. Thanks. I’m also pretty young. I’m not a well-thought-of teacher because I’ve taught a lot. I’m a regarded as a good teacher because I am constantly trying to get better at teaching. I read about it. I listen to podcasts. I write about it. Every interaction with a student is an experiment in best practices for me. I even take notes during my own classes:

  • How long did that segment take?
  • Where did students ask questions?
  • Where did students zone out?

What do you do? What are some ways that you could stop getting it done and start getting better at it? Help someone out: Share your thoughts and resources below. 

4 Replies to “Getting it done? or Getting Better”

  1. Hello Dr. Ferrar! Ironically, my most recent blog post is about the importance of of developing a day-to-day schedule and how it can drastically benefit a student’s free time. I appreciate the dedication you’ve made to improving yourself as a professional and I believe that these blog posts are a great way for the class to interact with one another. See you in class!

    1. Yes! A day to day schedule is crucial. Budgeting for time (or your money for that matter) is actually freeing. Most feel that a schedule limits options, when it actually unlocks your time to live in the moment.

      I’ve been playing with the “Ideal Week” concept lately, it’s working well for me.

  2. Very inspirational and true!! A lot of people including myself feel like checking off that box on my daily/weekly/monthly to-do list is way more important than perfecting a craft. We get in this mindless routine of just getting the work done that we do not ever really improve on our craft and our performance later suffers due to this. Because of this, I have taken your advice from the beginning of the semester and have designated 3hr per credit for each class I am taking this semester and have devised an in depth schedule to help me stay on track(SO FAR SO GOOD!!) but to further better my self, I have decided that I want to read at least book per month( a project I use to do back in high school).

    1. Fantastic! A book a month is part of my daily morning ritual as well. 13 months/books in, and I can’t believe the growth! What are you reading?

      A mentor of mine once said that if you read a book a month on a topic for 2 years, you’ll be a leading expert: who has read 24 books about anything these days?

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