The Getting Ready Trick

JKLTip Prioritize three things to dedicate learning time, but when you have moments you can’t work on those three make little gains in other areas
Notebook Getting Ready

We should always be getting ready. You may have heard the saying, “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” While this is true, it’s interesting to think about, because my goal is to be a master of learning.

I am confident that learning and creativity are most effective across multiple domains. If we can adopt a child-like mindset to learn many things, from many people, in many places, we will have access to more creative solutions.

But, we can’t make progress if we don’t focus. Without any depth, we will be in the same place twelve months from now. So how do we continue to progress when we have so many ideas?

Warren’s Priorities

Warren Buffett has a solid system for setting your priorities. It goes like this. Brainstorm the top 25 things you would like to accomplish. Rank order them in priority. Circle the top five and only spend time working on those things. I like to adapt this to the top three because I still find five too broad and lacking focus.

But here is the “getting ready trick”.

Of the things in your top 25 that you do not a circle, there are probably things you really want to learn someday. While they’re on a long-range plan, there is always some progress you can make. The key is it can’t impact the dedicated progress to the top three. 

Always be getting ready. 

Build systems and habits that allow you to work efficiently on the other things only when you can not work on the top three. Here is my personal example. My top three right now are filmmaking, social media and learning best practices. Some other things I know might be cool down the road are acting, singing and dancing. 

So, when I’m in the shower I can sing. I can listen to quality singing while driving. In terms of acting, I try to spend time doing background work to build an appreciation for being on set. When it comes to dancing, I eat healthy, I workout and maintain some bit of flexibility.

I’m not making gains in these areas like I would be if they were in the top three, but I might as well make progress that can happen all the while. The key is to find ways to continually be “getting ready”, while not losing any time to dedicate toward your current learning goals. This helps a lot when the day comes for you to actually take it on.

Should an opportunity come your way, or you decide to pursue something else, these little learning moments will already have added up. It would be too bad to finally get an opportunity and have to think “if only I was ready”.

Always be getting ready.

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** Read Why Just Keep Learning: JKL Post


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