Here’s a variation on an old joke: How do you get to the Super Bowl? Practice, Practice, Practice! That lesson applies to creating your two-hour work week
To get your week’s work done in two hours, you can use a 2,000 percent solution approach. The steps for creating a 2,000 percent solution (accomplishing 20 times more with the same time, effort, and resources) are listed here:
1. Appreciate the importance of measuring performance.
2. Decide what to measure.
3. Identify the future best practice and measure it.
4. Implement beyond the future best practice.
5. Identify the ideal best practice.
6. Pursue the ideal best practice.
7. Select the right people and provide the right motivation.
8. Repeat the first seven steps.
This article looks at practicing to become more effective in step five.
You probably have limited experience with identifying ideal best practices (the best that anyone could possibly accomplish in the next five years) but appreciate their value. To improve your capability, here is some thinking practice based on the following five approaches. Be sure to capture this skill as a permanent part of your personal and organizational perspective.
Combine Perspectives from Similar Individual Ideal Best Practices in New Ways
In an earlier article, I asked you to identify 50 examples of how individuals perform near perfection on a regular basis. If you haven’t done that task yet, please do it now. Then take out this list. Examine it to see where two or more ideal best practices provide instances of a general approach that could be used to create a breakthrough in something you do now. List at least five such general approaches.
Here’s an example: School children leave their classrooms when the dismissal bell rings, and millions know it’s New Year’s Eve in the eastern United States when the ball drops in Times Square. The principle is that people use a signal to tell them it’s time to move on to the next part of their plans.
Now let’s apply that principle. Let’s say that you want dinner guests to leave feeling happy at the time you want them to go. How might you create such a result? One possibility is to hold a formal ceremony that brings the evening to an end. This might be a prayer that blesses the guests for coming, a moment when you present them with little gifts to take home, or singing a good-bye song. To make the ceremony play its role, you’ll have to tip your guests off in advance that you plan to end the evening on that note. The best time to provide your alert will be when you invite them. And be sure to mention your plans again during the evening. Otherwise, you may hold your ceremony and still have dinner guests hanging around much later than you wish.
Combine Perspectives from Dissimilar Individual Ideal Best Practices in New Ways
Examine your list again to see places where two or more ideal best practices provide different principles that could be combined to create a breakthrough for you. List at least five different combined approaches.
Here’s one example: You probably consume enough liquids to keep from becoming dehydrated. Why? Your body gives you a clue when it’s time to drink more by having you feel thirsty. You probably also remember to get out of bed except on days when you are very sick. Why? You have plans that require leaving your bed, and those plans eventually encourage you to leave your comfortable cocoon.
Let’s look for a potential application of those observations. Perhaps you want to do better at following through with plans to achieve your goals. How might the preceding observations help you?
Let’s say that your goal is to learn to speak another language. You could link your daily learning activities to when you drink liquids and to when you arise from bed. In this way, you use a reliable, stronger habit to build a new habit. For instance, on arising you might repeat all the words you learned yesterday and read through your list of new words for today. Then, each time you drink, you could practice the new words for that day with flash cards you’ve made.
With this practice, you’ll soon be working a lot fewer hours after you begin applying what you’ve learned!
Copyright 2007 Donald W. Mitchell, All Rights Reserved