Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How To Complete Anything

I coach people on how to achieve the things that they've always wanted to achieve. There are a variety of tools, strategies and technologies which I train people in but if I had to boil it down to a formula it would be these steps
  1. start right now
  2. start with something small
  3. keep on taking actions until you get there, or said differently: don't stop!
  4. have a way of measuring & checking your progress
 Anything else is window dressing. It might make you feel good (which can be important) but it's not strictly necessary.

See also Get To Details

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Murray's Guide To Learning/Mastering Anything

Start somewhere, where you are right now is the best place. Find a good book on the topic. Read web sites, journals, forums and blogs on the topic. Find a teacher or a class and learn from them. Experiment on your own. Find another different teacher and learn some more. Question a lot. Experiment yourself and make notes about your experiences. Keep what works and save what doesn't for future reflection (sometimes what doesn't work is because we are doing it wrong and sometimes it's just wrong and it takes time to work out the difference). Take a break and do something completely different for a while.

Speak with other people doing it and find out how/what they do and what works for them and how they learnt. Read lots. Keep on practising. Keep on taking notes. Find people who are masterful and hang out with them. Don't be afraid to look stupid. Make your work public and get feedback. Find a way to make any criticism constructive. Practise some more. Pause to reflect.

Read some more. Find some-one who knows nothing about the topic and explain to them or better still teach some-one what you have learnt, get them to ask the really hard questions and find out the answers for them. Read some more, practise some more, teach some more. Vary the order as required. Remember that you can never know all there is to know on any topic and there is always someone who knows more.

What's your learning tip?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

GTD- Get To Details

I'm a fan of productivity systems and especially GTD, Getting Things Done by David Allen. I am by no means a GTD purist- aside from continuously tweaking my structures (another blog post on this coming) I insist on keeping separate existence systems for work and home, even using separate tools in each environment.

One of the things I noticed as I implemented Getting Things Done was that I had a tasks which never got completed. When I really looked at them it was because they weren't actually tasks they were projects, sometimes even involving other people for some of the steps. When they were all bundled together as one task it could seem so big as to be overwhelming or impenetrable. But when I broke them into separate, discreet and doable tasks they suddenly progressed. The un-doable got done.

So now my mnemonic for GTD is "Get To Details". And what I've noticed is that once you get to details it's easy and natural for things to get done.

If you find you have things hanging out forever on your to-do list (or however you manage your commitments) maybe it's time to step back and have a look at it. One of two things is likely-
  1. you aren't actually committed to doing that thing in which case it's time to acknowledge that you aren't going to do it and then do what you need to do to be able to remove it from your list- probably have conversations with whomever you promised it to in the first place or is expecting you to complete it.
  2. or like me you haven't done sufficient thinking to break it down into steps that you (or someone else) can actually complete. It's time to step back and do the thinking. Break it down into as many small discreet tasks as required. Then you just start with the first task and complete it and then the next until they are all done, one little task at a time.
Get to details, it works.