INTERNAL SCORECARD #3
We're now three weeks into me publishing a weekly internal scorecard. I do this to try to give people an idea of what looking to be productive actually looks like across multiple domains. This week was a very strange week, but there are lessons worth learning here.
CURRENTLY READING --
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius: Only book I'm reading. Very busy week with not much reading, and I got invited to have a discussion on the book with two amazing guys I respect a lot in a couple weeks. It's a great read, though I think best read slowly -- it requires a lot of thinking and reflection throughout.
DALIO QUOTE OF THE WEEK
Principle #171) "Recognize that design is an iterative process; between a bad “now” and a good “then” is a “working through it” period. That “working through it” period involves trying processes and people out, seeing what goes well or poorly, learning from the iterations, and moving toward having the right people in the ideal systematic design. Even with a good future design picture in mind, it will naturally take time, testing, mistakes, and learning to get to a good “then” state." -- Ray Dalio, Principles
Brief analysis: This quote is important because the "working through it" period can be tremendously aggravating. If you're trying to get physically fit by cutting junk food and exercising, you're going to be sore and tired and run down for at least a few days as sugar withdrawal kicks in and before you get into full swing exercising. It's okay. It's worth it. But you need to be ready for it.
HOW THIS WEEK WAS PLANNED
Same as the last two weeks. Select the relevant areas of my "job description" to do this week; pick a top 10 based on that, estimate the hours for each category of the top 10.
I added the items I failed at last week to the top of this week.
That said, this week got thrown into flux due to seizing opportunities (and the exhaustion that came with it).
THIS WEEK'S INITIATIVES (with time to completion estimates)
Followup on graphic design for business cards ... 1 hour
Followup on if the DNS is resolving correctly on new site ... 2 hours
GGW training/mentoring/credentialing system ... 5 hours
Empty "1" priority tasks on capture list ... 3 hours
Inbox Zero ... 2 hours
Particular GGW marketing ... 5 hours
London #1 ... 2 hours
London #2 ... 2 hours
London #3 ... 6 hours
Write 750 word piece for submission ... 2 hours
Create submission plan for magazines ... 2 hours
THIS WEEK'S INITIATIVE RESULTS
Followup on graphic design for business cards: Hired the best guy
Followup on if the DNS is resolving correctly on new site: Basically done
Inbox Zero: Never hit quite zero, but got very low
Write 750 word piece for submission: Outline and initial writing correct, couldn't quite get it to come together
I had much less time in London than my most conservative estimates, so I canceled the plans I had for the city.
GGW training/mentoring/credentialing system
Create submission plan for magazines
No action happened on the the two most complicated initiatives of this week. More on that in a moment.
ANALYSIS: ON OPPORTUNITIES, TIME, TRAVEL, SLEEP, SPACE, and VALUE
Is that a 0% complete success rate on my scheduled initiatives above? A quick glance says that's precisely what it is.
You might think that's the result of the week going entirely off the rails, and you'd be justified if you thought that. But actually, just the opposite.
Late on Saturday May 25th, after I'd already set this week's initiatives, I got invited to London on short notice by a client of mine. I booked a ticket for the 27th.
This turned Sunday May 26th into a "wrap things up and pack to leave Germany day" and turned May 27th into a travel day. I expected to be busy until 29th or 30th (Wednesday/Thursday). That meant I would have a difficult time meeting all my week's initiatives, but it would have been possible with a focused effort.
Turns out, we covered interesting and important ground, and my client said, "You know, Sebastian, I've been meaning to get you a gift to say thanks, and I don't know what I'd get you. You want to go on a tactical shooting course in Belgrade?"
Well, that's hard to argue with.
So the 31st became a travel day, too. And June 1st we were training.
I'm two days into the three days of training, and the course is exciting, educational, and leads to development of character. Belgrade is a wonderful city. I quite like the Serbs. Very tough and hospitable people.
Perhaps I'll write up more about it about later, but first let's look at the productivity and initiatives, and draw what lessons we can.
1. No set deliverables for anyone in particular: Nothing was due. I made all but one of my scheduled calls this week, even with the hectic schedule. Yet, everything that I had on the initiatives didn't have to be advanced for anyone or anything in particular. This makes it easier to push them back.
2. Undersleeping can get dangerous for productivity, because you require more low-quality rest and can't focus as much on doing intensive creative tasks if you do have free time later in the day.
3. Often, it's easy to pardon missing an objective "for a good reason." I got some immensely good time in and had a lot of wins this week that weren't scheduled initiatives (all the travel, two particularly great meetings, another couple good calls besides, and some GREAT news I've been working on and waiting on for a while from the USA) -- and yet, how much of this is making excuses? Which brings us to the next point --
4. The space in between: When you get quite busy, you need to rely on the space in between big blocks of action, and you need to execute on them if you want to move your creative endeavors forwards. The thing about creative things is that they don't do themselves, and need time. You can pardon yourself for not reaching objectives, if you like, if you have lots going on. But if you do it too easily or too often, you miss very important planned unfolding gains.
5. The value of time: It's during times when you're literally maxed out that you see the benefit from the small time-savers and systems you've built over the years, and you see the costs of accepting little nuisances. Most people don't notice these, because they're rarely up against their limit. But the cost is always there, even if nearly invisible, due to fatigue. Invest some creativity into freeing up your time long-term and streamlining your life.
A FEW HIGH POINTS
*London is even better than I remember. What a great city. Everyone is moving with such purpose and energy.
*I really like Belgrade. I could live here. I like high-toughness high-hospitality cultures. And this is that.
*Had a great quick breakfast meeting with Ivan Mazour in London, a brilliant mathematician/entrepreneur/investor. He graciously gave me permission to write up some of the things we talked about during breakfast -- he's probably one of the 10 smartest people I've met in my life, and I left breakfast with no less than three massive-breakthrough-possibility ideas. I'll write at least one of them up shortly.
*Did a lot of good off-schedule work.
*Good call with a brilliant guy who reached out to me, who we last spoke a year or so ago. He gave me a couple commands to enter into the Mac Terminal to make the Self-Control app be scheduled up to a month. So, I did it, and it worked. Amazing. Certain sites won't work on my computer for a month after being set.
*It looks like the Second GGW All-Hands Meeting was last week. Wow, that feels like ages ago even though it was five days. I already wrote up a couple high points / discussions from there. Very good meeting.
*Got preliminary agreement on working on another project a month or so from now
*Eddy Azar launched successfully the http://givegetwin.com/products/10-weeks-of-copywriting-training-learn-to-sell-anything-with-derek-johansen Derek Johansen deal, the second I wasn't directly involved in. Amazing work by Eddy and a great value.
*Learned a lot. I like learning and try to learn a lot anyways, but this week had more lessons packed into it than just about any I can remember in the last few years.
A FEW LOW POINTS
*What, you mean besides hitting 0% on the targeted initiatives? A big success this week through improvised action and taking opportunities, but I definitely could have put up at least 40% to 50% success on those planned actions by seizing the space in between time.
THINGS ON MY MIND LATELY
*Generating positive addictions intentionally, via Ivan. Will write this up shortly.
*I could live in Belgrade someday.
*I aim for a 70% success rate on initiatives. If I hit higher than 70%, I increase the difficulty or volume for next week. If I hit lower than 70%, I scale down and make the next week easier. Given that I hit... 0%... (yikes)... I'll scale down the difficulty for next week. Nay, that's not enough even -- I'll plan next week differently, and make it easier to make the week a success.
Your comments are always very welcome.
Sebastian, what an interesting concept - putting 'hospitality' and 'toughness' into the same conversation. Off the top, could you think of one or two more 'high-toughness, high-hospitality' cultures? And when I think about 'high-toughness, low hospitality' I think gangs and high-crime cultures. Is that what you would think as well?
Would you mind sharing those Mac Terminal commands for Self Control?
I was going to, but I'm not finding where I saved them... I'll post if I can find them.
If you open Terminal and hit the up arrow key you can view previous commands. Depending on the size of your Terminal history, it might still be there.
If your history is very long and you remember the start of the command, you can use reverse-i-search: http://mactoids.com/how-to-search-terminal-command-history/
The Internal Scorecard
I think there's a tremendous amount of misconceptions regarding achievement, productivity, creativity, ambition, work, work rate, work ethic, and so on.
So I'm thinking of publishing some analysis weekly with examples of what happened in the week, successes and failures, noteworthy events, what I'm reading and listening to, and so on. If it goes well, I can give you a picture of a workweek for me, intermix tactics and techniques, and give you practical guidance about what's working well and what isn't.
Well, the mission started off decently. This was one case in which I set a lofty goal and fell short, however I could have done significantly worse. My original plan called for a full week's worth of studying, that is with an undetermined break day (6 days reading and studying total). Life and laziness got in my way, however. Due to a combination of my ever-changing life here in Zhengzhou and a lack of motivation I did 4 days of reading in and 3 of vocabulary review. In each sitting I read 2-3 articles though, so I probably broke even as far as articles go.
The Week's Results
All in all, not a horrible week. This week's outcome indicates to me that I'm not going to start strong and fizzle out as I have a lot of improvement I can make. Let's break it down a little bit.
What Didn't Work Last Week: Marathon Media