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When to carpe diem

I spend a lot of time talking about discipline and routine. Having a regular approach to how you do business and how you run your life is beneficial to your personal performance and your job performance. It’s part of this regular approach to continual improvement that gets you to where you want to be over time. I can’t advocate enough for it. I do think however, that it is important that you recognize when it is of value to break from that routine. Now the question is: what are the things that are important enough for you to make that break? I really believe that discipline and routine are critical to achieving your goals so knowing when to make this break is crucial. I think that there are three important points to consider when you think about breaking from your routine:

  1. How valuable is the thing that you’re going to be doing in place of your routine? What are the stakes involved? How large is the reward? How big is the risk if you don’t do it? That’s a critical component.
  2. How far out of your routine is this going to carry you? Is this something that is going to disrupt you for an hour, a day, a week, or a month? How big it is and how far away from your routine it’s going to carry you, is going to drive how much value you need to get out of it in order for it to be worth dong.
  3. I think the final piece is how likely is the outcome? You want to measure the size of the reward, the degree of effort that it’s going to take to get there, and then you’re going to want to assess how likely it is the benefit is going to occur after you put forth that effort.

I think those three things give you the informational inputs to be able to make solid decisions around the question of: is this worth breaking out of my routine for? I really think these are important to use on a regular basis because otherwise, everything becomes more important. Your routine gets dropped down in priority or you never develop a routine because you’re so busy trying to capitalize on the opportunity of the moment rather than being focused on the long term goals. That’s an enormous issue with a lot of people and it’s because they don’t have a framework for how to assess opportunities and they don’t think about how valuable the things are that they do every day. They count those as less important because they are part of a routine and happen constantly but I think that’s poor reasoning. There’s enormous value in being able to develop that consistency. So I think that having that decision making framework in place enables you to choose wisely as you go to deviate from your routine. Anyway I’m curious to hear people’s feedback on this. There’s a lot of talk about how important it is to seize the day or seize the moment and not nearly enough talk about how important it is to embrace the everyday grind.

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