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Do something

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Do something

Scott Miker

Knowing yourself is important.  We have to learn about our strengths and weaknesses and our tendencies to act in specific scenarios. 

Some people tend to hesitate before they jump into something.  They know they need to do something so they plan and plan.  They evaluate.  They think about the problem at a high level.

Others jump in without regard for long-term consequences or high-level associations.  They simply see a job to be done and get started.

The good thing is that neither approach is perfect.  There are advantages and disadvantages for each type of person.

The person that hesitates tends to procrastinate.  They often get caught up in over analysis paralysis.  They want to have everything perfectly laid out in their mind before pursuing. 

Those who jump right in tend to find that that they shoot before they aim.  Instead of taking targeted action they jump from one thing to the next and often never complete a project because before they button it up, they are on to something else.

The key to improvement isn’t to pick one.  It is actually to know where you naturally gravitate to and then work to make sure you don’t get caught up in the consequences of that method. 

If you overanalyze, then you should work to getting the plan to 90% and then jumping in.  Most likely trying to get the last 10% flushed out in your mind takes the longest time and most effort.  Instead learn to jump into action sooner and focus more on progress than perfection.

Those that jump first should learn to pause and think through the full ramifications of their actions.  They should work hard to develop patience and understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day.  If they want significant, lasting, long-term success then jumping from one area to the next hurts them. 

Both of these types of individuals can get help by following the systems and habits approach to improvement.  This approach focuses on thinking through the long-term aspects but then incorporating a very small action. 

This gets them moving towards their goal and overcomes procrastination but also forces them to develop patience because they are only doing a small piece at a time.   

It can be the cure for both approaches by giving them what they are lacking.  It assists their current mentality but doesn’t follow it 100%. 

So learn about yourself and look at experiences that stretch you and push you outside of your comfort zone as a good way to learn your limitations and tendencies.  Then make sure to look for signs that you can use to trigger better responses.   

I noticed when I was younger I would often take on the negatives of each perspective.  In some areas I would overanalyze and procrastinate.  Other areas I would jump from one area to the next.

This sabotaged my improvement goals time after time.  I had to learn about myself to see when I was leaning too far to one side or the other.  Then I had to take action to do something different.

If I were jumping too often, I would stop and force myself to stay put for a certain amount of time.  If I was stuck in over analysis paralysis I would force myself to take a small, consistent step in the right direction and commit to evaluating the impacts before trying to have a perfect plan in my mind.   

This was a challenging way to improve but was necessary.  It was the only way that I could start to have a plan, stay focused, take action, make progress, and remain flexible throughout so I can change as needed. 

But the first step for me was to realize I often spent too much time thinking and not enough time doing.  Therefore, my first step was simply to do something!