Five Great Wee Questions

Apparently yesterday was the most depressing day of the year, according to Dr Arnalls from Cardiff University. He has a formula to work it out based on the weather, debt, money, failed resolutions etc etc. Hmmm. I assume Cardiff won’t be asking for the full £9,000 per annum fees for this sort of tosh.

I’m tempted to bang on about attitude being a choice and the dangers of allowing externalisations like the weather to define your mood, but I won’t.

Here’s something much better. I was banging on last week about the need to keep sharpening the saw regularly. This takes some quality time and it should. But in between these sessions, a wee bit of on-the-job sharpening will keep you in top tree-felling form…

So, how to do it?

Ask yourself 5 questions:

1. STOP

What will I stop doing, now?

I have already identified these during my January saw sharpening session. I’m going to add another – stop reading the news so that I don’t get riled by stuff like Dr Arnalls pronouncement.  For you, maybe it’s a high-payoff activity you hate. Remember, HPAs are critical to goal achievement: they must be done, but not necessarily by you. As long as they’re done by someone, all is well.

2. LESS

What shall I do less of?

This is the stuff that does work, but maybe you do too much of it, i.e. you might be being unfocussed or disorganised, or some other form of inefficiency. If you raised the quality of something you do, you could get more out of it for less effort. Are you perfectionistic? Remember, the only thing worth being perfectionistic about is your use of time. Nobody cares about the animations on your PowerPoint.

3. MAINTAIN

What shall I keep doing?

This is good stuff that you do well and it works. This is NOT, “oh it’s too difficult to change so I’ll get to it another day.” What’s honed, effective, automated, works like a charm…? Great. Be proud.

4. MORE

What shall I do more of?

It’s good for me and it works, but I’m a wee bit uncomfortable doing it or it’s painful. So I procrastinate, or elevate lesser tasks and get to them first before the important stuff.  Madness indeed.

5. START

What shall I start doing?

It’s been on my mind for ages but it hasn’t bubbled to the surface. Now’s the time. Just start. Take the first step. Stop gathering information. Stop waiting for the perfect moment.  Start now and monitor results. If you get what you want – great. If not, stop doing it or change what you do. You may even fail to get a result. But that’s OK – failing cheaply and quickly is definitely allowed. In fact, it’s essential.

Failing slowly and expensively, which you may be doing with the activities you have thought about under items 1 to 4, is NOT allowed. Because that would be depressing.

Thanks to Peter Thomson for inspiring this article.

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