Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Your "TO DO" List Sabotaging Your Productivity? Probably.

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It is indisputably necessary that a leader be capable of keeping a watchful eye on a number of varied projects, personnel and tasks, or as they are called most pejoratively, "to dos". The To Do List, either hand-scrawled onto a legal pad, or set forth in a ticklerized and prioritized table designed by a brilliant project manager has been the bane of every morning's first reading by every responsible businessperson, professional and entrepreneur for a very long time.

Whether you Rotationally Task or Multi-Task, odds greatly favor that you have had to confront this ever-growing beast most of the days of your working life. Anticipating the exercise creates a panic response -- your system is producing too much cortisol and epinephrine; and when you actually come face-to-face with the monster itself, you first emotional response is one of being overwhelmed or lost.

As well-intended as they are (after all, we do want to stay organized and not lose track of any responsibilities), these lists tend to be paralytic. We create them out of a fear that we'll fail to remember; out of a propensity to micromanage our own intrinsic productivity and the productivity of others; or out of a compulsion (a targeted OCD) to write details of every single thing that we want to accomplish far beyond just those that are our most important ones -- we write about the smallest, least significant things with the same pen as we do the important ones.

After a while, it becomes very difficult to have perspective about what's worth writing on the calendar for next month's consideration, and what needs to be addressed within the day ahead of us.

The lengthier the list, the more likely we are predestined, by our own obsessive subconscious, to fail. We inevitably add more items to the list than those that we cross off. We lose focus.

We expend a disproportionate chunk of every day ruminating over these lists, instead of simply getting the important ones finished. We waste time, we waste psychic energy and we become less productive. Laughably, we spend more time about thinking about what we must do than actually performing. The article excerpt and link provided below appear courtesy of CBS Market Watch:

Why your to-do list dooms you Research shows that maintaining a checklist of must-dos is a system that's fatally flawed. Read more


My thoughts for The Taking Command Blog :

If you must have a list, do not include more than a maximum of seven items which you absolutely must accomplish during the next day. As you do each, cross it off the list. At the end of the day, you should have crossed off all items, with none remeianing for the following day.

Then, write your list (right off of the top of your head, and limiting the items to only the most important items to be accomplished the next day) for the next day, and put your old list somewhere where you will no longer have it within visual range.

A giant list is menacing and causes an emotional shutdown. It is also confusing.

The only list worth making is a short list of the things that are actually on your mind. All of that other debris just creates an emotional hurdle and a distraction...especially when items get carried over from one day to the next and the list begins to grow to the size of an encyclopedia.

For ongoing projects, ideas, possibilities, lesser tasks, simply ticklerize your events calendar or planning program to give you alerts or reminders with respect to critical dates and deadlines.

To do? Done.

Douglas E. Castle


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Sunday, April 08, 2012

CONQUEST - Finding The Weakest Link, Exerting The Greatest Pressure...

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The conventional wisdom of the spy, instigator or powerhouse negotiator has been to conserve and leverage assets in the conquest of an enemy or the attainment of an operational objective. Since it requires great power to conquer or convince a firmly united force, the best mission strategy has generally been to find the weakest link in the group, the fortifications or the system, and apply pressure at that point.

After all, leverage, by definition, involves the use of a limited strategic force to move a large or heavy object.

Spies, instigators and negotiators in commerce always seek to find the weakest, or most disaffected person in the opposing camp, and apply their efforts toward 1) separating him or her from the rest of the force, and 2) converting that person into an asset for the accomplishment of the mission.

Whether it be to champion an idea within an organizations boardroom, or to simply create doubts about the competency and integrity of the opposition's leader, this is classic.

Beware the opponent or outsider who aggressively tries to get you alone and befriend you -- he or she might have determined that you are the weakest link, and an ideal point upon which to exert pressure. Avoid being cornered and separated from your tribe at all costs (unless you are an expert at counterespionage and are very much aware of the gambit in play).

On the other side of the situation, if you are looking to penetrate the toughest defense, watch for the weakest link to be converted to your point of least challenging inward access.

The old adage about "United we stand, divided we fall" is quite true.

The Commander and conqueror finds the opponent's weakest link and gains entry.

The foolish and conquered IS his or her team's weakest link, and is used by the better tactician or strategist.

Douglas E. Castle For The Taking Command Blog


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