Feb 062014

Make things happen Mystie’s post, Education is a Life: Fortiter fideliter forsan feliciter, or Repentance, got me thinking about goals and getting things done. She makes the point that results are not in our control. We obey, God rewards (in His own way). This is just as true in all areas of life. We do; stuff happens. If our focus is on goals rather than just being faithful (in all of life) then we will be disappointed.

Then I ran into this article, Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead. which emphasizes systems (faithfulness) over goals.

What’s the difference between goals and systems?

  • If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.

Now for the really interesting question:
If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?

He even appears to discourage goals with his points:

1. Goals reduce your current happiness.
When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.”

3. Goals suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.
You can’t predict the future. (I know, shocking.)

But he does concede that goals have a place. Just not 1st place.

Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.

Are you focused on goals rather than on being faithful in the little things?

Feb 042014

All Japanese All The Time Following a rabbit trail from another blog, I came across an interesting article at the slightly irreverent “All Japanese All The Time” blog. The post, “Probability Over Certainty, Or: Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Immersion, I Learned from the Miller-Rabin Primality Test“, rambles a bit till he gets to his point that much of our procrastination is due to focusing on accomplishing the end product rather than the intermediate steps that lead you there.

In the GTD (Getting Things Done) universe this is seen as breaking your goals and projects into action items that can be done, that are ‘accomplishable’ (my term). As everyday distractions pop up, you get closer to finishing your project or meeting your goal by working on bite-sized chunks that will, in the end, complete your projects and goals.

Don’t try to get things done. That’s too hard. Too painful. Too annoying. Too prone to failure.

Don’t try to get things done.


Do try to increase the probability that they will get done.

Don’t try to get things done. Do try to increase the probability that they will get done.
Don’t ask if you’re doing the right thing.
Do ask if what you’re doing increases the probability of having what you want to happen, happen.
Do ask if what you’re doing increases the probability of you getting what you want.

Don’t work with the certainties; it hurts too much; it’s too painful. Work on pushing up those probabilities.

Next time you feel so overwhelmed in your quest to become fluent in Japanese, that you just sit there and do nothing, sit there and watch English-language shows on Hulu to try to drown out the guilt you’re tripping on (just like Maddie used to), stop yourself, wake up and smell the probabilistic coffee.

Watching a Japanese anime instead of running off to Hulu may not be as “perfect” as doing your SRS reps, but it demm </SouthAfricanAccent> well increases the probability of your actually learning Japanese, more than some English escapism ever could.

The post concludes with ““Nothing” is the only too little; “Not Now” is the only too late.” Rather than plopping down on the couch after a long day at the office, what little thing can I do to move myself along towards my goals?

Source: Probability Over Certainty, Or: Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Immersion, I Learned from the Miller-Rabin Primality Test
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Apr 282013

Eat That Frog!.
Brian Tracy.

Page 13 has two great quotes related to ‘eating frogs’, i.e. getting your primary task done first:

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.
The first rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.
The second rule of frog eating is this:If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.

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Mar 302013
Page: 65
One essential concept of Getting Things Done is to set aside time, even if it isn’t much, to daily and weekly reviews, where you check in with your lists, remind yourself of what’s on your plate, and keep both your systems and your mind current. If all your lists are going to benefit you, you must actually look at them.

I have always struggled with the weekly reviews of my task lists. I have put the weekly review on my list of To-Do’s each week but it is so easy to skip. But without a review you have things that remain at the bottom of your list that either should just be reviewed or moved to top priority because you forgot about them.

Do you review your list of To-Do’s? Any suggestions?