More Dalio. From Principles -
201) Make sure all the “must do’s” are above the bar before you do anything else. First, distinguish between your “must do’s” and your “like to do’s”. Don’t overlook any “must do’s,” and don’t mistakenly slip the “like to do’s” onto the list. Then, get all the “must do’s” above the bar. Then get all the “must do’s” excellent. If you have time, turn to the “like to do’s” and try to get them above the bar. Only if you have time (though you certainly will not if you are thinking broadly), turn toward making things perfect. Chances are, you won’t have to deal with the unimportant things, which is better than not having time to deal with the important things. I often hear people say, "Wouldn’t it be good to do this or that,” referring to nice-to-do’s rather than must-do’s that have to be above the bar. Chances are, they are being distracted from far more important things that need to be done well.
1. Distinguish between "must do" and "like-to-do"
2. Double-check that every "must do" is on the must-do-list, and that you aren't sneaking "like-to-do's" onto the must-do-list.
3. Get all must-do's above the bar.
4. Get all must-do's excellent.
5. Don't make things perfect - you won't have time. Get to excellent on the must-do's, be happy there.
6. He then says you probably don't even have to do the like-to-do's - if you focus on getting life's "must-do's" excellent and moving forwards, you're probably going to be much better off.
I often hear people say, "Wouldn’t it be good to do this or that,” referring to nice-to-do’s rather than must-do’s that have to be above the bar. Chances are, they are being distracted from far more important things that need to be done well.
I read the dalio principles when you first mentioned it. The thing that really struck with me is the process to get anything you really want done. This guy knows what he's talking about (Forbes 400 anyone?).
What I really loved with it is how he explains that you must take hours to create the plan before you sit down and do do do.
For so long in my life, I felt guilty/wrong for spending hours on designing a plan instead of actually working. This led me to create a half-assed plan and to not follow through, everytime.
This time, it's different. I'm following his procedure to get what I want and I'm literally investing hours of my time to create a plan that I will follow (using the must-do first vs i like to do).
Let me summarize it in a nutshell for the readers out there. Seriously, this is AWESOME, just like a golden recipe for achieving successfully goals that are linked to your values. Let's do this:
"Values->Goals->Identify Problems->Diagnose problems (real root causes)->Designing a plan->Doing the plan"
1) Discovering your values - "Everything you do has to resonate with your inner values ". I recommend using Steve Pavlina's list of values as a start, go through it and identify yours: http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/list-of-values.htm
2) Setting goals - "Once you commit to a goal, it might take lots of thinking and many revisions to your plan over a considerable time period in order to finalize the design and do the tasks to achieve it. So you need to set goals without yet assessing wether or not you can achieve them". Set HIGH goals even if you don't know how to do them. You need ambitious goals to keep yourself motivated. You will find how to reach it along the way. "Avoid setting goals based on what you think you can achieve."
3) Identifying and not tolerating problems - "While it can be tempting to react emotionally to problems and seek sympathy or blame others, this accomplishes nothing. Whatever the reasons, you have to get over the impediments to succeed. Remember that the pains you are feeling are "growing pains" that will test your character and reward you if you push through them. Try to look at your problems as a detached observer would. Remember that identifying problems is like finding gems embedded in puzzles; if you solve the puzzles you will get the gems that will make your life much better. Doing this continuously will lead to your rapid evolution. So, if you're logical, you really should get EXCITED about finding problems because identifying them will BRING YOU CLOSER TO YOUR GOALS."
4) Diagnosing the problems - "You will be much more effective if you focus on diagnosis and design rather than jumping to solutions. It is a very common mistake for people to move directly from identifying a tough problem to a proposed solution in a nanosecond without spending the hours required to properly diagnose and design a solution. You must be calm and logical. You must get at the root causes. More than anything else, what differentiates people who live up to thei rpotential from those who don't is a willingness to look at themselves and others objectively. There is no getting around the fact that achieveing success requires getting at the root causes of all important problems, and people's mistakes and weaknesses are sometimes the root causes. So to be successful, you must be willing to look at your own behavior and the behavior of others as possible causes of problems."
5) Designing the Plan - "...an effective design requires thinking things through and visualizing how things will come together and unfold over time. You should visualize this plan through time, like watching a movie that connects your past, present and future. Then write down the plan so you don't lose sight of it, and include who needs to do what and when. The list of tasks falls out from this story (the plan), but they are not the same. The story, or plan, is what connects your goals to the tasks. For you to succeed, you must not lose sight of the goals or the story while focusing on the tasks; you must constantly refer back and forth.
6) Do - Simply refer to this post :) Important to prioritize rationally and do the must-do's first - and giving it your best shot ever everytime.
"Is Exponential Growth Possible?" got a few really good comments. Riley Harrison left a really good comment and questions -
A great blog. One of the realizations that helped me was comprehending that if an insight or epiphany wasn’t actionable (didn’t lead to action) it wasn’t of much value (other than recreational). I have thought way too many deep thoughts, read too many self-empowerment books searching for the non-existent silver bullet (insight) that would allow me to bypass hard work, accumulation of small victories and risk taking.
The traditional barriers/obstacles (time, money, energy, risk taking etc) are to me somewhat secondary to just plain old inertia. But being at the right place at the right time – is that serendipitous luck or something else. You do have to factor into the equation that you are shooting at a moving target (circumstances change and you change) – times stands still for no man… As to the list of things to make you grow I would add that being conversant in the latest findings in neuroscience and positive psychology wouldn’t hurt.
I've written before about our challenges using Basecamp as we grow. To me, Basecamp is akin to Democracy: It's not great, but it's the best thing out there. (If anyone knows of better project management solutions, please post them as comments on the other thread -- Basecamp is getting very long in the tooth and while I'm hoping for a significant overhaul, I'd switch to something else if I could find another solution that addressed our pain points, as 37 Signals hasn't given any indication that one is coming.)
In response to a comment on that post, I'm posting below the "How To Basecamp" guide we've created for our employees. This guide was created by Christine, our Wordsmithstress at Socialize, so thank you Christine for putting this together.
Note: there are some videos & screenshots in the internal document we use that are private and aren't in here. I've done my best to replace them with blurred out versions.
I've written before about our challenges using Basecamp as we grow. To me, Basecamp is akin to Democracy: It's not great, but it's the best thing out there. (If anyone knows of better project management solutions, please post them as comments on the other thread -- Basecamp is getting very long in the tooth and while I'm hoping for a significant overhaul, I'd switch to something else if I could find another solution that addressed our pain points, as 37 Signals hasn't given any indication that one is coming.) In response to a comment on that post, I'm posting below the "How To Basecamp" guide we've created for our employees. This guide was created by Christine, our Wordsmithstress at Socialize, so thank you Christine for putting this together. Note: there are some videos & screenshots in the internal document we use that are private and aren't in here. I've done my best to replace them with blurred out versions. About Basecamp: Basecamp is a project management tool created by 37signals that creates an accessible digital trail that email can't. There's a bit of a learning curve with Basecamp, but you'll soon get comfortable with the system the more you use it. Once you've made an account, to access Basecamp, you can login at http://[your_domain_here].basecamphq.com. We recommend that you bookmark your to-do page (and choose the timeframe,this week, today, in the past, etc.,that works the best for you). With that bookmark, you'll always enter Basecamp through the view that's most important to you: all the tasks you have to do! Keep in mind that Basecamp will remember your navigation. What does that mean? Well, if you were previously looking at Christine's to-do's for the week, the next time you click on "To-Dos" on the Basecamp navbar, you'll see Christine's to-do's. You can navigate out of this view by changing the parameters in the right hand corner. Keep in mind that Basecamp will also remember your navigation through projects. To switch out of a certain project, you can click on "Switch to a different project" to change project views or head back to the dashboard to shake it clean (y'know, like an Etch A Sketch). Organization: Sometimes the terminology can be a bit confusing. Here's a rundown of Basecamp's different levels of organization. Dashboard: The bird's-eye view of Basecamp. From here you can see what everyone is working on and access a list of projects you're privy to (right-hand column). Keep in mind that your activity will show up on the dashboard view, so people will be able to see your comments and such. Projects: Sometimes pertaining to a specific department, projects are a high-level view of the big columns that prop up Socialize, Inc. Since these often coincide with the organization of the company itself, they should be created sparingly,think of projects as very broad and large-scale. Milestones (now part of the 'Calendar' tab): A mid-level view of department goals. These are what we'd call "projects" outside of the Basecamp world. For example, an in-house Socialized app launch would be a milestone. Every milestone should have a due-date and an owner, even if the due-date is an arbitrary date two years out. To-Do Lists ("Buckets"): A lower level view that breaks down what needs to happen in order for us to reach our milestones. If we're launching the Socialized app, one bucket could be "Generate Buzz." To-Dos (these live inside the To-Do List buckets): The micro view, all the little steps you need to accomplish on a (usually) day-to-day basis. A to-do can only be assigned to one person as a time. Under the bucket "Generate Buzz," we might task Jeremia with demo-ing our Socialized app at a tech schmoozing event. To-Do's 101 To-do's are the building blocks of Basecamp's project management system,these are your day-to-day tasks. If you would like someone else to take on a task, you must create a to-do for them. The task creator is responsible for making sure the task is created properly. The to-do must fulfill the three following requirements: (1) it is a separate to-do (not a comment in another to-do/task), (2) it has an owner (the person responsible for accomplishing the task), and (3) it has a due date. If you task someone in a comment thread of anothe rto-do, they will not be able to find this task under their to-do list. Create a separate to-do (and even link the original conversation) so that they can easily find the task. To create a to-do, you must be within the desired project. From the dashboard, find the appropriate parent project. From this page you can either add a to-do to an existing to-do list or create a new list as the to-do's home. Sometimes, a task is ongoing and has no real due date. In this case, the task can become a to-do list or it can be labeled as ongoing (e.g. "[O]" as a type of recognizable nomenclature). Try not to use the messages functionality, as for some reason Basecamp implemented messages in a way that doesn't allow people to be added/removed in later comment threads-- very annlying. Ideally, you want to-do's to be both measurable and actionable. Meaning that it's hard to measure the success and endpoint of a to-do like "comment on blogs",a more quantitative to-do would read "comment on 5 blogs" and be dated for a week away. It's possible to hack the system a little bit. Basecamp is great for managing various deadlines and tasks, but sometimes you want a repository for suggestions or ideas. 37signals offers other tools for this purpose (like Campfire), but you can manipulate Basecamp for this purpose as well. Create and designate a to-do list for messages and ideas. As these items become actionable, they can be dragged into a different list to become real to-do's with owners and dates. Tl;dr? Here's the basic gist: 1. Task creators are responsible for assigning the to-do on Basecamp. 2. Don't task someone in a comment. 3. All to-do's need a owner and a date. 4. Don't use the messages functionality. Searching It can be hard to search on Basecamp, and there's no advanced search option/filters either. This video is an overview of searching (spoiler alert: use shortcut Cmd+F to help you find the keyword in question).We suggest searching through projects (rather than across all of Basecamp) to narrow down your scope. And, you know, you can always admit defeat and just search through your email as well since Basecamp will always email you when you've been tasked or included in a comment. Tips and Tricks If you're using Google Apps, add their Google ShortLink Labs feature so you can make short links (e.g. "go.getsocialize.com/mother" to access The Mother) to frequently used Basecamp buckets, to-dos, etc. "Tag" a bucket or to-do with unique keywords to facilitate searching. For example, tag a website-related task with "Charlotte" (get it,Charlotte's Web?) so that you can search for that keyword rather than the ubiquitous "website." When something is marked "private" in Basecamp it means that it's private to your company (i.e. ALL of Socialize, Inc. employees). It does NOT mean it is private to only the people active/included in the bucket list. Tired of checking off 5 people's names every time you make a new comment on a task? Create an email distro list for that team and grant Basecamp access to that email address. Keep in mind, though, that tasks should be assigned to individuals and never to a distro list. FAQs If a milestone has a due date, then does every task also need to have a due date? Or if a task doesn't have a due date, but is in a task list that has a related milestone, do we just assume the corresponding task is due when the milestone is due? Every task needs a due date. Why? Tasks are the little steps we take to reach a specific milestone. Sometimes, tasks need to be completed in a certain order. Because Basecamp offers several levels of organization, you may see or access the task without seeing the milestone due date. Adding that due date will ensure that you can keep yourself accountable to getting the task done on time. Do you have other tips on "How To Baescamp?" Please post them as comments below. I'm especially interested in any 3rd party services that address some of the main pain points we've been having.