Separate your to-do and to-learn lists

Lots of people maintain daily, weekly or monthly to-do lists.  These lists typically jumble together 3 types of tasks:

  1. Maintain my life: Day-to-day operational stuff to keep life going.  These tasks are the consequences that flow from the sum of all the decisions I’ve made in the past.  The more I possess, the more it possesses me.  When you’re up to your _____ in alligators, it’s hard to think about draining the swamp.
  2. Change my life: New projects that will change my conditions or lifestyle.  These tasks implement the new alternatives that I’ve committed to in recent decisions.
  3. Change myself: Grow new talents, skills and capabilities that increase my effectiveness

Modern life is hectic; most of us are overcommitted because we have too much “stuff” (#1) and have launched too many projects (#2).  As a result, investments in ourselves (#3) usually take a back seat to the more pressing concerns.  It’s easy to procrastinate and delay investments in learning because their payoff is always somewhere in the future.

Here’s a trick to counter your natural tendencies.   Separate your to-do lists (types 1 and 2) from your to-learn list (type 3).  Make sure that you reserve 5% of your time each week for the to-learn activities.   Start today to take advantage of the “compound interest” effect of enriching your capabilities continuously.  Keep growing!

About decisiondriven

Innovator in Decision Management, Systems Thinking and System Engineering methods and tools
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