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Working on It

September 28, 2018

Author: Bianca Yang
Email: ipacifics@gmail.com

How do you decide what to work on?

Once you are working on something, how do you know you’re making progress?

The key things to do:

  1. Develop a x-year vision, where x is something long-term, like 10 or 20
  2. Understand what has to be true to achieve that x-year vision
  3. Clearly lay out what has to be done to achieve the necessary components you identified in step 2.
  4. Identify key metrics that can easily tell you if you’re on track to achieve each component of three.
  5. Divide x / 2 and repeat above steps. Stop when x / 2 is smaller than some unit of time.

I think this algorithm, if a bit rough, captures the key ideas of prioritization and progress. It’s important to realize that whatever you come up with out of this algorithm isn’t fixed in stone. You should continually revisit your plans and make sure they still line up with your priorities.

Remember, to not get bogged down in the day-to-day of your work. We humans do our best planning and thinking when we look at the long-run. It’s true that the day-to-day work builds up movements that form long-term trends, but slice and dice your time too finely and you’ll run into something like a Zeno’s paradox. As long as you are making progress each day, you will be able to look back on the past year, 5 years, 10 years, and nod your head with pride at what you were able to accomplish.