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Learn to cut things out from your life

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.  

Learn to cut things out from your life

Scott Miker

The world is a very complex place.  We all go through our day with numerous choices that we have to make to get through our day.

This is empowering because it gives us control.  But it is also overwhelming.  What if we make the wrong decision? 

I’ve been in many business strategy meetings where we lay out the options but then freeze.  It doesn’t always seem like we are freezing in our tracks but that is exactly what we do.

It may be that we decide we need more information when we really have everything we need.  It may be that we feel we need to wait, or ‘sleep on it.’  We delay making a decision because we don’t want to make the wrong decision.   

When it comes to self-improvement, we often do the same thing.  We know we want to improve in some area but find reasons to hold back. 

In these instances, when we sense that we are hesitating because of fear of the unknown, or because we don’t want to make the wrong decision, the best thing to do is to learn to eliminate options.   

Instead of having a bunch of options to choose from, start to get rid of options.  We can start to cut our choices down to fewer and fewer until we can take a step forward. 

But this isn’t what most people do.  Most people love options.  So they add more and more options.  When they come to a point of indecision they add more ideas to the list, rather than filtering it down. 

When you can do anything, many times you end up doing nothing.  But if you have a limited set of options, you can choose the best option among the group.   

When I meet someone that is about to embark on a new self-improvement journey, I emphasize the need to do something over finding the perfect thing to do. 

I do the same thing when I am at work and faced with a large list of important tasks that need to be completed.  After evaluating and ranking them, or deciding what is most urgent or most important, sometimes we just freeze. 

We get overwhelmed.  I’ve learned to identify this feeling and when it comes, I’ve learned to simply start numbering the tasks.  I put down the order I will tackle each task and suddenly it gives me direction.  I can start to focus in on the first task and ignore the rest. 

This allows me to put more energy into the task at hand, and makes it much less likely to get distracted.  The elimination of choice creates more action.  The elimination of options gives me a clear path forward and the focus to tackle each item without worrying about the others. 

Because the world is increasingly complex, learning ways to simplify in order to get to action quicker is helpful.  It can mean the difference between jumping into a new self-improvement goal and endlessly waiting for the perfect option to appear.