September 2016

What NOT To Do

We live in a world with more choices and possibilities than we have ever had before. Which is why I was shocked when I had a boss tell me that it is more important to decide what NOT to do, that what actually to do. I’ve seen variations of this concept brought up time and time again. As I have gotten older I can see the importance.

We have the capability to do more, but the amount of time we have hasn’t changed. Yes, we can be more efficient, but as productivity numbers have shown, there is a cap on our ultimate level of productivity. In fact, we can get pulled down so many rabbit holes, our productivity may actually decrease.

One approach (attributed to Charlie Munger) that works for me is to make a list of your top 20 to 25 goals. Order it by priority with 1 being the most important. Yes, they are all important, but prioritize it. Then cross out all but the top 3-5. NO MORE THAN 5. Lock the rest away. Don’t look at all of them again till you knock one of your goals off. This allows you to focus on a handful of things, which you might actually accomplish as opposed to trying to get them all done. This ties in nicely with the concept of Hyperthreading that I have mentioned previously.

In fact, when you knock a goal off, it might be best just to strart from scratch and rewrite your list. After you can check. It might be surprising what you subconsciously decided NOT to do.