The Path Ahead

Imagine walking through the mall. On the left and right of the storefront displays we see all sorts of things that grab our attention, but we have a specific destination in mind and cannot become distracted by impulse.

It would take 86 hours to get through the mall if you only spent 10 minutes in each store.

The difference in how we think is being able NOT to take action on impulses. Remember, they are distractions keeping us from reaching our destination. Don’t be late! Notice them, maybe even appreciate their existence, but stay focused on the path ahead. Be aware how much the little things consume our time.

Cut to the Chase

I am always impressed by simple systems. Here is one example I often experience ordering food; it could be Chinese, pizza, or the deli. The entire phone call in under 20 seconds.

Dial the phone number… phone rings…

Hi Brian. Thank you for calling blank. Would you like the same thing you ordered last time?

Me: yes

Okay, great. See you at 4:40

Me: thank you

Always Be Working

There was a time when I stopped working. It was the first time in my life since I was a little boy. I’ve always worked, it’s what the family did. I’ll never forget the feeling. It was similar to jumping off a fast moving train and landing on your feet only to catch your balance. That rush of the train passing by as you catch your breath. That moment would set a wave of things in motion that would later have a real impact on my life and prove difficult to recover.

We all get burnt-out from time to time, but we need to keep moving. In hindsight, jumping on a slower moving train would have been better rather than getting off entirely. Never allow yourself to become too comfortable. Always keep moving.

Systems vs. Goals

Why do we fail at reaching our goals? What are we lacking? Systems-driven people hold the key to answering both questions. They create efficient and effective ways of looking at things. They are big picture driven and simplify ideas to the core. They put things in place to make sure things happen.

By definition, a system is a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done, a set of rules to achieve a desired result. The things we do every day are systems. The things we plan to do are goals.

Systems-driven people are effective because they focus their energy in the right direction. They have a clear path to their destination. They see the end as clear as the beginning. They accomplish what they set out to do every time they apply their system. They are effective at reaching expected results efficiently.

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.
— Peter Drucker

People generally know what goals they want to achieve, although, they are ineffective in achieving those goals. We can set goals all we want, but if we fail to put things in place to reach our goals, we will fail every time. While this post was in the oven baking, I gave the following example of a system on Facebook.

If every day when you woke up in the morning you tripped a wire as you walk down the hallway that starts the coffee pot as you walk to the bathroom, what just happened? It’s a series of events put in place to make something happen.

Simply going through the motions ensures the result.

Systems are similar to building toy models. We learn how the pieces come together and what we need to make it happen. When we’re finished, we experience the end-result. The highest benchmark for any company to achieve is implementing the right products, the right systems, in the right place, at the right time.

Notebooks & Time Travel

I’ll end up diving into the productivity list in greater detail but this post serves to shape the direction I’d like to take it. It can be used to witness how note-taking works real-time and how notes develop into something in the future.

This is a note.

On the list mentioned earlier about 15 Surprising Things Productive People Do Differently, #4 and #6 work hand-in-hand towards productivity.

The notebooks record our thoughts and visions for the near and distant future.

Notebooks ensure our future-self can be trusted to do the right thing.

Interruptions and distractions often allow something on our minds to be forgotten. The notebooks are used to capture thoughts and the direction we’re headed and make sure we get there in the future.

Secret #4: They beat procrastination with time travel.

Secret #6: They use a notebook.

I use the note app on the iPhone often, but my preference is pen and paper. I have notebooks within reach everywhere (bathroom, kitchen, garage, car, etc). Notebooks are a necessity! Notebooks are testimony to our productivity.

Performance Criticism

Performance criticism is studying something to death, then being able to decipher the data and know how it relates to the equation. You’ll overlook a lot of wisdom and insight if you confuse sincere advice with criticism. Unfortunately, people often confuse the two.