I just read this insightful post from Richard Huntington, on ‘Deep Thinking‘ and couldn’t help but read with a tremendous sense of relief. That I’m not the only one who struggles with this is refreshing, but also paralyzingly frustrating. The compression of so many roles into both managing the day to day grass fires that plague many organizations while at the same time, also having to foresight every possible outcome as a means of predicting the future with forensic accuracy is no small task.
Managing all of this for any of us is a complex task; a daunting one to say the least. This is why I like what Huntington has to say here. His recommendation to ‘create’ the space you need to think, is powerfully undervalued. My strategy is to as often as possible, embrace the Pareto principle’s core at least, through my own lens. Pareto’s construct, the ‘law of the vital few’, or ‘the principle of factor sparsity’, observed that “80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes” which has inspired many a business author to report that 80% of the results come from 20% of the effort, or in sales, that 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your clients.
I have my own take on Pareto’s now infamous 80/20 rule is now evenly spread across a multitude of applications and disciplines. For me, in trying to manage (or cope some days), I try to the best of my ability to render my work week by the 80/20 rule. In its simplest form, I resolve to keep one day a week, typically a Friday (like today) for my own version of ‘deep thinking’ where I can reflect on the week ahead, think about the week behind, map out what is coming in the next 30-60-90 days and help ensure I’m focusing on the right things. I have found this to be infinitely helpful to me, and with Huntington’s piece, I can take it even further.
Always happy to hear your thoughts on the subject. How do you create the space you need? Do you do carry around a file folder that’s an inch or two thick of things you are forever needing to read? Do you always promise you’ll get to it on airplanes or on the train home? What are your tricks – let me know below.