Action versus motion

Standing on the platform waiting for the train this morning l, I opened up my Kindle app and started reading through another chapter of James Clear’s Atomic Habits.

In the chapter that I was reading James clarifies the difference in behaviour that leads to habits. There’s motion which is a behaviour that doesn’t yield a result and an action that does produce a result.

Outlining a handful of articles I want to write is motion but writing a single piece is an action. Actions are steps towards a defined outcome. Not only did I find this insightful for building habits but also how I categorise tasks.

Much of the coding work I am doing just now can be put in the action category. I implement a feature or a bug fix, and I deploy it. Deploying the change is the result of the action.

Then there’s the marketing work that I am preparing. I say preparing because that is all I seem to be doing right now, preparing. This is motion. While I am planning out something, I’m not getting any closer to the desired outcome.

The difference between the two is clear now, and it sheds new light on what I need to do to move forward.