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Getting Past Shiny Things: Choosing Core Metrics, Selecting Your Projects From Them

No one celebrates Thanksgiving in Taiwan, and my business partner is Canadian. But the majority of our clients are American, so the normal rigors of client calls and sales calls were wiped from the slate, leaving us a day to evaluate where exactly we were at.

It was both inspiring and shocking. If you're a small-business owner, I'd highly recommend you check out this post. I'm going to walk you through how we identified everything we could be doing, what we were doing well and poorly, and how we chose metrics to measure success and let that dictate our projects.

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The first thing we wanted to do is figure out exactly what we had implicitly or explicitly committed to.

When we calculated how many internal projects and initiatives we had active, or that we wanted to start in the near future, we realized we had 42 current internal projects that would represent hundreds if not thousands of hours to complete.

Habits, Leverage, and Trees

On Tynan

If you want to totally screw up your life, here's my advice: cultivate some bad habits. That's how most people do it. Very few people screw up their lives by drinking once, but a lot of people screw it up by developing a drinking problem. I've never heard a story of someone who went to Vegas for the first time and lost his entire fortune, but I've heard plenty of stories of people with gambling addictions who have blackjacked their way to bankruptcy. Even breakups are far more likely to be caused by habitual bad behaviour than by a single action (even in the case of cheating, a lot of couples stay together).

This is because a single action doesn't have all that much leverage on your life. But habits, on the other hand, define us as people-- literally. What we do regularly becomes a label. Bob's an alcoholic. Tom is a cheater. Raymond is a gambler. Habits change ephemeral verbs (Tom cheated) to nouns. Once you're defined by your habits, it takes a lot to change that. If Bob doesn't drink for a night, he isn't magically changed into tee-totaler. You are your habits.

And that's why habits are my religion. I write about them all the time, from every single angle, and that's mostly a result of being fixated on habits in my own life. If you can change your habits, you can change who you are.  So I pay very little attention to rare occurrences and work on my habits constantly.

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