Saturday, March 1, 2014

A System Over a Goal and the Art of Saying No

So I've decided to make this year the year of doing things. Now I have run into a problem:

Do not be confused! I have plenty of ideas and I don't think I will run out soon. I have also started about 10 of my ideas and some of them are pretty big and could take a long time. This is not suppose to be the year of starting things, I have been doing that forever, this is the year of doing things. So I'm already going to have to cut back. Which brings me to today's post. Developing a system over a goal and the art of saying NO!

A while back I was introduced to a concept that has really blown my mind and the more I think about it the more I like it. We have developed this concept that people who get things done are "Goal Oriented" people. Scott Adams, the author of Dilbert, doesn't think so. In an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal he said this:
"To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. That's literally true most of the time. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you will spend every moment until you reach the goal—if you reach it at all—feeling as if you were short of your goal. In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary.  
If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or to set new goals and re-enter the cycle of permanent presuccess failure."
I have noticed that with myself I have succeeded the most when I have a system. Take breakfast for example. I blogged about my breakfast habits last week. I have known that eating breakfast was important and it has been a goal for a few years. It wasn't until I threw out the goal and developed a system that I actually start being consistent. In fact I don't even think about how I have "achieved" my goal of eating breakfast I just do it. I don't have a count down chart or a reward system and there is no guilt in failure. I just tweak the system and repeat. 

Its time to kick the goals to the side and develop systems that help me keep going even when I fail.

The other thing I need to do is to prioritize and learn to say no. This starts by making a list of things that are important to me and then learning to say no to the things that are not on the list. In all of the studying I have done on being productive this is usually near the top. 

There are millions of things that we could be doing and we need to decide which are the things we want to do. I am not going to look back over my life and say boy I am glad I watched 3 hrs of tv a day when I was 27. That sure enriched my life. We watch Netflix together but we have been getting better at watching just one episode and then turning it off to do other things.

Another thing not on my list is Facebook. While I agree Facebook is not the devil and it is useful for some things, it can be a very dangerous black hole. Millions of status updates that you don't really care about can suck your life away. Real relationships are the people in front of you. Don't pass that up to keep in touch with your old high school friends.

So what is on my list? Well today is the day that I make it so stand by...


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