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

Necessary but not Sufficient

Using something such as a paint brush is not sufficient to understanding it in the same way reading a book is not sufficient to understanding it. The Bible is an exceptional example because it can be read and interpreted differently, however, that does not mean we understand it. We think we understand until we take a closer look and different parsing of the text “in context” of Scripture.

The brush, although a necessary part of painting, may not be sufficient for reaching our full potential in the same way reading a book on Goals is no guarantee we’ll ever achieve goals. We need to understand why we fail at accomplishing things to avoid failure.

Understanding anything takes a disciplined, data-driven methodology to distinguish the difference between thinking we understand and knowing we understand. I am all for wanting to do things the easy way or take the shortest route, but I know, that only gets me so far. Let’s face it, we need to step outside our comfort zone to make things happen. We need to think and look at things differently.

Necessary But Not Sufficient
Eliyahu M. Goldratt , Carol A. Ptak

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.

Time Travel To The Future You

It is seemingly impossible to remember every single thing that pops in my head throughout the day so I take a lot of notes. The more you think about something, the more you might need to jot down on paper.

I never allow work to limit the process of recording my thoughts because I know how important it is to my future-self. I could be painting a 20 foot long wall and stop the roller dead-center and whip out my note app and speak the thought into memory. If I don’t stop right then and there, the chances of me remembering will vanish by the time I finish rolling the wall. It may get purged from memory in place of other thoughts. I’ll quickly jot down a thought on anything available so not to lose the thought.

Write it down.

This process of capturing thoughts needs to be quick and efficient to ensure whatever it is gets recorded before it vanishes from memory. This is such a crucial thing for me to ensure whatever it was gets attention in the future.

How this process works in simple terms can be demonstrated using 3 words, “Wendy’s Taco Salad.” However the three words popped in our head isn’t important. What’s important is that my future-self gets one. I will likely forget otherwise until maybe I hear it again on the radio. In this case the note serves as a reminder (to do something) albeit not very productive in this case, but nonetheless satisfying.

The Spark File
In addition to using notebooks for reminders, notebooks are used to shape our future-self where a single idea develops over time. We jot down the initial ‘spark idea’ and build from there. This process can happen over the span of a few hours, a day, week, months, or even years.

Just like the Taco Salad, if its important, we need to take appropriate measures to ensure our future-self sees it through. In my next post on this topic, I’ll focus on time travel because this is such a big deal with productivity. Is it possible to be in two places at once? Sure it is and I’ll show you how.

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.