New continuum to ponder: reactive – creative.
– Warren Berger was just on The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish talking about asking better questions. Full disclosure, I haven’t read any of Berger’s works previously, but he’s on my list now. So let’s ask some questions about this continuum.
– Think of the extremes as two modes. Creative is for “new stuff,” and reactive is for “routine stuff.” He breaks down the very basic notion of scheduling creative and reactive blocks of time. In other words, make some new stuff for a while, then answer some emails and do some routine stuff later. That’s your Tim Ferriss 101 definition.
– Once we schedule better, how do we react and create better? Now we’re getting into Berger’s process of purposeful question asking. Let’s paraphrase Ray Dalio’s favorite formula: stress + reflection = growth. If it’s growth we are after, we’re going to need a stress seeking missile. Furthermore, once we have growth, how can we make it more efficient? Berger defines a good question as “authentic curiosity,” and that’s what we’re (hopefully) exhibiting here. Just keep drilling down.
– Seth Godin recently posted about the nuance of going with your gut, and how to make your gut smarter. Seth breaks it down into keeping a log of what you’re practicing (defining whatever “it” is), doing more repetitions of what you’re trying to get better at (adding more stress), and then talking through your logic with others (to reflect, and codify your process into instinct).
– Let’s pull this all together: break the tasks down into the reactive and the creative stuff so you know which domain you’re operating in, and so you can stay focused. Dive into each, seek out the stressful parts, and try to convert those into gut decisions to become more efficient. Lastly, the icing on the cake is probably understanding the transitions – i.e. after you finish the creative email, how to reactively edit the text, send it off, and record your work.
– Maybe this is the most deficient definition of efficiency ever written, but that’s a big part of what I’m even writing these thoughts down for in the first place. Any questions?