Wednesday, April 13, 2016

How to Pick a Time Saving Strategy or System

Have you looked at the number of breakfast cereal choices at the grocery store? I get dizzy when I walk down that aisle. 

I almost prefer going to Costco to buy breakfast cereal because I they have at 1/10th of the selection.

Doesn’t it drive your brain crazy trying to pick out a strategy for saving time? There are so many choices.

And then when you try one, it feels like you are broken or the method is broken or something about the whole system doesn’t flow.

Have you had the experience where you adopt a system and immerse yourself in the system and get overwhelmed and then quit because it’s too hard to keep up. Ever had the feeling like you are a weakest link because the “system works” but you can’t make it work consistently for you.  
Productivity Process Failure Cycle

Wow. I let's take deep cleansing breath.

Where are you with your productivity system

  • happy with where you are (which means either you reached a level of productivity that is meeting you goals or you don’t know if the investment in a productivity systems is worth the effort, so your good with where you are)
  • frustrated with where you are (which could mean you want to pick a better system, or just want to go on vacation for the rest of your life)
  • optimistic that you can find better ways (which means you probably found a system, but are looking for some tweaks)

First let’s be real about learning stuff.  It takes time.  We are engrossed in a  world that wraps up difficult murder cases in 1 hour or creates massive inter-personal conflict then resolves the issue into forever-love in 1 1/2 hours or even 30 minutes for really good plots. There is an expectation that good things can be embraced and achieved in a short time window.

This is mostly a big fat lie.

So let’s reach back into some ancient philosophy to get a glimpse of how people really work.  This is in stark contrast to modern media.  Please enjoy this as if it were a breath of fresh air.


Shu ha ri
Shu-Ha-Ri is a concept from Japanese martial arts describing the stages from ’leaner’ to 'master’.  And it is directly applicable to developing personal habits and mastering productivity systems.
The short summary of this is as follows…

  • Shu (shoo) - leaner - do everything in wrote fashion without too much analysis.
  • Ha (hah) - practitioner - understand the theory and tweak the systems based on reflections, analysis and experience.
  • Ri (ree) - master - innovate and create, potentially breaking with previous systems.

The the cycle of failed productivity systems that I described earlier in this article is really part of the Shu experience - a natural part of learning.  But how do we move to the next level.

I’m going to let that question hang in the air for now and I’ll talk more about that in a future article.  Right now, we need to pick a method to start with so we can begin the journey at Shu.

Here is a productivity system short pick list

In order to “Save a Million Seconds in a Year” or "Save a Million Minutes Minutes in Your Life Time" you’ll need some consistency in your time savings methodologies.

Please leave a comment on your latest experience in working with a productivity system.  How did it go? 

P.S. for some serious depth read this article “Shu-Ha-Ri"