The monkey and the oranges

The monkey appeared by the fruit bowl, snaffled two armfuls of oranges and made a clean getaway before any of us could react. It legged it for the wall with swaying, monkey gait… but had to climb a tree to make good its escape. The monkey did its level best to run up the tree, leaving arms free for the…

James Clear on habits as casting votes

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity. This is one reason why meaningful change does not require radical change. Small habits can make a meaningful difference by providing evidence of…

Crazytime

There comes a time with almost everything that you start losing concentration, making silly mistakes, and generally going crazy. It’s almost never a mistake to walk away – for ten minutes, for an hour, for a weekend – and do something else, and ideally to find help. We usually also recognise crazytime too late – we hang on, we flounder,…

2019: Goals in review

Driverless Crocodile Goals for 2019: Here’s a review of the year’s goals: Goal 1: Keep it up. 600 posts on DC by the end of 2019, with enough of a frontlog to set it and forget it for a couple of holidays. Result: 578 posts by 31st December 2019. (GOAL MISSED) Commentary: The original plan required an extra 50ish posts…

Tim Ferriss on time management as priority management

This is a piece of advice from The Four Hour Work Week that I need to re-learn and re-apply on a regular basis: Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant.…

William Slim on operations and administration

To separate operational and administrative responsibility is to break a rule I have rarely seen violated without someone paying a heavy penalty. Viscount William Slim – Defeat Into Victory Full quote on the fall of Burma (Myanmar) to the Japanese army in 1942 below. Who’s on the ground? Who is doing the work, face-to-face with the customer, user or client?…

Easier than maybe

“Always” and “never” are easier than “maybe”. “Maybe” requires a decision, introduces ambiguity. Most of our decisions start as “maybes” (hence the need for a decision). It can help to have a process for deciding, some criteria or a set of rules to avoid the effort of re-deciding next time you’re faced with a similar situation. “Maybe” can so often…

The discipline death spiral

You make a bad decision (because everybody does).* You get busy fixing it – on top of all the other things you were already doing. You get tired and distracted. You start doing less of the right things, less well, and in more of a hurry. Because you’re in a hurry, you do less well in your interactions with people.…

Peter Drucker on balancing short and long term goals

If a manager does not take care of the next hundred days, there will be no next hundred years. Whatever the manager does should be sound in expediency as well as in basic long-range objective and principle. And where he cannot harmonize the two time dimensions, he must at least balance them. He must calculate the sacrifice he imposes on…

Choices: how much?

Some questions to help you decide whether to buy something: How many cups of coffee is this worth? (If it’s less than five cups of coffee, it’s not a very big decision – you should probably go ahead. And don’t spend longer on choosing something worth the cost of a cup of coffee than you would on choosing coffee.) How…