10 Obstacles to Getting Things Done

Most people have a dream. Most people have goals they want to accomplish. It could be to run a marathon. Lose 10 pounds. Write a book. Start a blog. Open a new business. Fill in your dream here.

Most people fail to get there.

Be honest. It’s true. It may even be true for you. It has been for me many times. I’ve wanted to accomplish something but years pass and it is still simply a dream.

Why is that? I’m sure there are many reasons. I’m just sharing some of them.

Here are 10 obstacles I’ve seen to getting things done:

No specific plan

No first step

Cowering to public opinion or popularity

Giving up too soon

No accountability or measurable steps


Not including others

Inefficiency, poor time management or laziness

Lack of follow through

Success not clearly defined

Which one is yours?

What other reasons have you seen for why people don’t accomplish what they hope to do?

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28 thoughts on “10 Obstacles to Getting Things Done

  1. Until recently, mine was the lack of accountability. But I've been in a mentorship program with Jim Wideman called infuse this year and he heavily emphasizes the need for leaders to have built-in accountability.
    The only thing I might add as an obstacle would be low self-esteem. But again, this is where strong accountability and mentoring can really come in handy.

  2. For implementing GTD you can use this application:


    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote and Google Calendar, and also comes with mobile version, and Android and iPhone apps.

  3. Number one happens to me a lot. I have a great idea but no plan to implement.

    I think another obstacle to getting things done is they publicly announce their plans. This makes it seem like action will be taken but then people feel accomplished just because they took a step.

  4. One I have dealt with , when I have already started a project and something comes up, over which I have no control! A death in the family, an illness in the family, or even an illness of my own. Then, I try to get back to my project…..just can't seem to get back into the game. Loss of focus, maybe?

    • That's true. I've seen this also. I saw it when training for a marathon. I'd get sick and couldn't get back on track.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  5. Unintentionally putting something else first.
    We may label it distractions. We choose to focus. Not easy in our day with the world at your fingertips. PRAY!
    I have 15 more minutes today to get through all my email and check FB (I have 2 sons in college).
    Then to my grad school studies (also online). Always worth a stop reading your blog.
    Thanks for encouraging and guiding, gently.
    Twitter: eccle0412

  6. Maybe this is just a restatement of one of yours. Sometimes my problem related to “no first step” is the discovery that sometimes there’s actually at least one more step before what I thought was the first step. Sometimes the counter to this is just go do something, even at risk of it being the wrong thing, to quit from waiting for all the data needed.

  7. No accountability is a huge deterrent for me and for lots of people that I coach. What I have loved about coaching is that it is 'positive' accountaibilty. Fear oriented accountability (a boss, a hard deadline, etc) works, but rarely produces highest quality work.
    Lots of my clients (and I) struggle with no clear first step. I can't tell you how many breakthrough moments I've had with clients spinning out of the question, "Now that you know what you want to accomplish, what do you see as your first step"?

  8. Distractions derail me. The worst part of it is, they are good distractions, people in need. I am one of those statistics, I have put the publishing of my book back a year for the last couple of years. It hurts to even put this down on paper. I was an administrative secretary for 25 years and I could multitask like no other and there was no deadline I did not make. Now that I have the time for myself, my goals, without structured accountability to my staff, I just haven’t been able to find a rhythm, a balance of time between now and future goals. I have to admit, I have had a lot of crazy life changes, making those adjustments has distracted me too. This is very convicting. I need to take some time with God today, get back on track. It has been a tough couple years, but it is time to get refocused! I realize the need of the present is important, as God has called me to online ministry, but so is the God goals He has given me for the future, because one day that will be the present. I need to make some changes! I worked for a church, a pastor, a staff within four walls, very structured for a lot of years. Now I work for Jesus, no walls, no structure, no accountability to people… but I realize the common denominator is the same, I do what I do unto God, He is my 1st accountability. hmmmmmm Thanks!!!
    Twitter: kmac4him