If you’re a regular visitor of ActionableBooks.com (or a reader in general), you’re likely getting bombarded by new ideas – new systems, processes, and suggested behaviours – at a rate far greater than you could apply. Rather than succumb to FOWS (Flavor Of the Week Syndrome), I’d encourage you to consider The Blend.
The blend lives at the healthy crossroads of regular stimulation and established best practices. Your best practices. You’re a high functioning individual. Despite your constant desire to improve (and likely because of it), you’re actually doing pretty well. There’s no need to throw out the baby with the bathwater when you come across a shiny new time management system / leadership process / visioning exercise / etc. You also don’t want to slide in the close mindedness of ignoring everything that doesn’t fit your existing world view. Instead, I find it most rewarding (and most enjoyable), when we apply a bit of rigor to the introduction of new concepts into our lives. Something like this, perhaps:
1. You read/watch/hear about some new system you’d like to try out. Write it down. Keep a notebook dedicated to new ideas that you could action.
2. What do you want to have happen? My favorite question. Aside from it being new and shiny, what’s the appeal? What’s the suggested or promised return, and what’s that worth to you?
3. Once you’ve established that the outcome is worth some resources (time, energy, money), take stock of everything that needs to or will change. What will be impacted? What aspect of your day? What tools? What new habits would you need to develop? What habits would you need to break? No change takes place in a vacuum; there will be disruption. Take a moment to consider what that will look like.
4. Acknowledge your current reality. Do you have time to make the change? Every change has some degree of learning curve to it. Do you have the capacity? Is it going to cost you more money? Can you cover that?
5. Weigh the costs – both real and opportunity cost – against the expected/desired outcome. What do you think? Worth the effort? Many people fail to acknowledge the setup costs, learning curve costs and the fact that making this change means to can’t make some other change. Everything requires time. Make sure you appreciate that and factor it into your decision.
6. If the expected benefits outweigh the costs, execute. Commit to trying the new thing for a fixed period of time. Don’t waffle on it; give it the time it deserves. Too many of us give up on new habits/systems before they’re allowed enough time to make a measurable impact. Speaking of measurable impact…
7. Measure the outcome. How did it compare to what you expected/wanted to get out of the change? Did it live up to the hype?
8. Keep, Kill, Tweak. After giving it a hard look under the light of day, you have one of three choices: Kill it (don’t do it any more), Keep it (it’s now a permanent part of your modus operandi) or Tweak it (adjust some aspect of it, and repeat steps 6 and 7)
9. Rinse and repeat. What’s the next new shiny thing to try out?
I sincerely hope you enjoy the resources at ActionableBooks.com. But don’t let them overwhelm you. I like to think of the summaries, podcasts and these posts as a buffet – scan the options, try what appeals and, if you like it, dig in for a full meal.