3-rules for the 10-best of anything

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Are you a bit confused about the “right” 10-things for you to do about everything? How the “right” way to do career management is this and the “right” way to do time management is that…but none of the articles out there agree on the same 10-things to make your life more productive?

Me too.

Now, I’ve written “10-things to…” articles in the past. This is not condemning the great work that people are offering up as advice in career management, personal branding and productivity.

But, as Cubicle Warriors, I think we sometimes get lost in the weeds of 200 things that are all “right” for us to do. After all, if we did everything all these experts told us to do, we’d spend the entire day self-actualizing and never getting anything done.

What we need is “brilliant filtering” and a lot of understanding of how we work. If we are fortunate enough to have figured that out, we don’t do the 1000 things that are the “right” thing to do.

Instead, we need do the 10-things that are right for US.

Whenever reading anything about “best practices,” 100-productivity rules, or the 10-best of anything, we need to filter what is being written and understand:

  1. We build our own “best practice.” Whether it is personal or business, what works best some other place totally ignores our culture, our work, and our strengths. So we need to adapt the claimed best practice to what we do. We adapt what we learn into our best practice.
  2. How we work is how we work. We need to integrate the “best” of other items into how we work now. While it might be that we should overhaul 100% of how we work, that won’t last long. Integrating few new things into how we work — even if it is the “best” — is better than starting over.
  3. Simplify the 500 best things to do. Usually, we can incorporate only one or two new things into how we work — not 500 or even five. If we don’t simplify how we work we end up frustrated and even less productive than when we had the brilliant flash of genius from a career management blogger (like me…) telling us what to do.

As a commentator on career management, I’ll throw out the best and worst of what I see about how to go about managing your career and building your personal brand. But, as a reader, it is incumbent upon you to know how you work, how you interact with people, and how you know you are productive before implementing any new, great, shiny thing that proclaims to perfect your work.

The world improves in increments. You decide the incremental changes and make them a success.

It’s brilliant filtering.

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