I loved this Superorganizers interview with my friend, Josh Kaufman that dives into how Josh does research, reading, writing, and uses Ulysses. And how he has a separate computer that is only for doing focused work.
You’ve no-doubt heard of the Law of the Vital Few. It’s the 80/20 rule, which states that roughly 80-percent of the results come about from just 20-percent of the energy.
But, if you were to take your 80-percent results and apply the 80/20 rule to them a few more times, what you end up discovering is that your initial 1-percent of energy spent brings about the first 50-percent of results. (Illustrated here.)
Gary Keller writes that “success is about doing the right thing, not about doing everything right.” You can’t just do anything and get disproportionate results. You have to do the right thing. That critical action that drives a disproportionate result.
A few symptoms of an unfocused life include things like: reacting to daily fires; feeling unsure about the future; lacking any margin / breathing room; unclear goals; no plan forward; procrastination.
Compared to a focused life where you are in control; clear long-term vision and goals; easily able to make decisions with confidence; thriving (even when things are unusually busy); ensuring that important relationships and responsibilities always come first and get your priority; you have a bias toward action.
There are 3 things you need to accomplish your goals: (1) a clear goal; (2) a winning action plan; and (3) consistency.
For things where you are just getting started, you may not yet know what your winning action plan is. When this is the case you need the right blend of iteration and feedback until you’ve got your winning action plan. Once you discover what works, double down on consistency.
The past 12 months I have gotten extraordinarily nerdy on backpacking gear. And one of the things I ended up splurging on was the best headlamp I’ve ever owned. Two things I love about this thing: (1) how very thin and lightweight it is; and (2) its dedicated buttons for the white and red lights. The dedicated buttons mean you don’t have to cycle through a whole sequence of options before you get to the light you want. It’s just press and go.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself why. (It’s usually one of two reasons.)
Are you: (1) on the verge of something new? Or (2) is life showing you that something needs to be cut out?
If you’re on the edge of breakthrough with a big project, then sometimes the answer is to keep working and persevere through the season.
Or, if somethings got to give, then take inventory of where you’re spending the bulk of your time and energy (not where you wish you were spending it, but where you’re actually spending it). Now ask yourself what can be subtracted to give your calendar, your mind, and your emotions some breathing room. (I guide folks through this process frequently as part of The Focus Course.)
In order to accomplish your goals you need: (1) a clear goal; (2) a winning action plan; and (3) consistency.
Take away or invert any of those things, and you’ve eliminated the possibility of succeeding at your desired outcome. Here’s what they look like when inverted: (1) unclear direction; (2) random acts of productivity / busywork; (3) distracted / trying something new but moving on quickly.
Some excellent advice that I fully endorse: Ship early and often; don’t overthink it; set tight constraints; and more.
We know that clarity cures busywork. We also know that action brings clarity. When you’re stuck and lacking clarity, take action and just get started. But don’t get lost doing busywork disguised as procrastination.
When your attention goes to many things, no real progress is ever made. Not all opportunities are worth pursuing — especially if it means being pulled away from something that is currently working.
Something for if you’re stuck overthinking something: Very few decisions are permanent. Almost all decisions can be reversed, altered, or adjusted.
Anne-Laure Le Cunff: “*Double loop learning is a model that encourages people and organisations to continuously challenge their assumptions and goals instead of blindly repeating the same loop. While the idea seems simple, it can be hard to implement double loop learning because of a natural need for control, a fear of failure, or an overall resistance to change.”*
It’s camping season, and I recently made a few upgrades to my backpacking gear. One thing in particular that I spent way too much time researching was my cook pot for boiling water.
I’ve already got a nice, 1.8L aluminum pot that’s great for car camping, but I needed something smaller and lighter for my backpacking trips. Ideally, I was looking for something that’s right around 1L or a little less. I wanted it to have measurement markers. And I wanted it to be able to hold my whole “cook kit” (fuel canister, stove, etc.).
After spending an inordinate amount of time researching on gear sites, watching YouTube channels, and walking around at my local REI and Sheel’s… I ended up getting this Boundless Voyage 900ml pot.
(A very close runner-up option was this Toaks 750. The Toaks is the pot that most sites and YouTubers recommend, but I decided to go went with the Boundless Voyage 900 because it is just barely taller, holds 20% more water, and has the longer, flip-out handle that can lock the lid in place and doesn’t get wildly hot when cooking.)