Here’s a project for you: go build a smart phone this weekend.
I’ll give you some parts and some tools. You can pull from the internet if you want. And we’ll help you keep the distractions away. How do you think your project will turn out?
If you’re like most people, it’s going to be an unmitigated disaster. Why? Because it’s virtually impossible to build a complex system from scratch.
If you’re new to thinking about productivity and personal effectiveness, you may be surprised by how complex the whole subject can be.
There’s the theology piece. There’s the motivation piece. There’s weekly planning and workflow management and a hundred digital tools that might help you. You have different roles, specific strengths, and personal passions…
Then, as soon as you make some progress fitting the pieces together for you, you realize that you better figure out how your personal system fits (or doesn’t fit) with your colleagues. It doesn’t matter how “effective” your system is if you can’t work with others to be truly productive.
All this complexity can keep you from getting started.
The good news is you don’t have to jump in to the deep end of the productivity pool.
Start with Simple
Today’s tip is simply to “start with simple.”
This comes from Gall’s Law, named after John Gall, a systems theorist who wrote the book Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail. It goes like this:
A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: a complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a simple system.
So, permission granted to start simple.
Simplicity is incredibly powerful in how it allows you to get started and in what it makes possible down the line.
A Few Simple Places to Start
- Review what the Bible says about work and how God views our productivity (hint: productivity is really about good works)
- Read Matt’s article Plan Noble Things
- Print this Weekly Planning Checklist and incorporate what makes sense for you
- Ask yourself “what’s best next?”