Traps in Your Effectiveness System

Supporting the Effectiveness Habits is your system of lists. Design a system of lists that will work for you.

I suggest you design something simple that supports the habits you have built so far. Then evolve your system of lists as your habits become natural and as you add new habits. Along the way, watch out for two traps that snare most everyone at some point: the detail trap and the evolution trap.

The Two Traps

The Detail Trap: The first trap is designing a system with the wrong level of detail. Too much detail (examples: tracking tasks that are already habits, having too many levels of outcomes, sub-outcomes, sub-sub-outcomes) will slow you down. Too little detail will mean that you’ll keep too much in your head.

The Evolution Trap: The second trap is investing too much or too little time to evolve your system. It can be really tempting to tinker with or completely renovate your lists. If you find yourself throwing out and rebuilding your entire set of lists for the third time in as many months, you may be in this trap.

Or, out of fear that you might spend too much time on the system instead of getting to work, you may decide not evolve your system at all. And you may even shortchange your daily and weekly refreshes.

You Are the Authority

Rather than having me or someone else say how much detail or how much list-evolution work is right for you, decide for yourself. Use the evidence around you. Both traps will generate friction and frustration in your daily work and slow or threaten your adoption of the Effectiveness Habits. When you notice these things happening, then you know you are in one or both of these traps. If you are, you can adjust your system and habits until you’ve replaced these symptoms with more ease and effectiveness.

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