I wonder if sometimes looking for the most efficient solution might actively damage our chances of finding the most effective solution.
Let’s take an example “fitness drive”.
Being lazy, I’ll usually want to do this in the most efficient way, so I’ll lie on the sofa, ploughing through the internet, clicking, skimming and reading, and perhaps downloading an app, or buying something off Amazon as I slowly comes up with the combination of routines, diets and gizmos that will almost certainly guarantee me a six-pack in 21 days. While I’m doing that, though, there’s an equally good chance I’m slightly mindlessly munching my way through a packet of Jaffa Cakes.
This Jaffa Cake Fitness Plan allows me to shift responsibility for the plan to others, and allows me to procrastinate. It feels productive and efficient but is woefully ineffective.
How does one avoid it? “Bias for action” is perhaps one way. Do something that you think is a sensible first step and research along the way, using feedback from that small trial. I know, for example, that “your weight is what you eat and your shape is how you exercise”. And I knows that going for a walk would do more immediate good. I could even go for a walk and try to think about what sort of changes to my eating might be workable over the next fortnight. And I could do that straight away.
Jaffa Cake Fitness Plans crop up all over the place. In terms of education, while I’ll enjoy the professional dialogue online, often I suspect I could be more effective by just taking half an hour out and thinking through some simple next steps to trial. In terms of productivity, I will happily read all about BuJo, KanBan, or Getting Things Done, while quite clearly not getting anything I actually need to do done.
All I really need to do now is to research the most efficient way to develop a bias for action…