I’m Staring at My Task List

Thought for this morning as I was looking at my task list: I almost always base my decisions on my level of excitement instead of what needs to get done. One thing that seemed to help is categorizing tasks into Peak, Trough, and Recovery. Peak times are for higher analytical tasks. The mind tends to be sharper in the morning. Trough tasks are administrative in nature, which tends just after lunch. Recovery times are for tasks that require more creativity. Organizing this way has made a big impact on how organized I feel and how much quality work I get done!

Questions I’m pondering:

  • What is believability?
  • What is credibility?

I’ve mentioned that I’m reading Principles because it’s recommended by many influential people, but it’s also because I would love to build something substantial like Dalio has done so it seemed like a good fit. I’m becoming more aware of why I believe some people and not others. We all have these criteria that we use to judge advice by, right? Sometimes the criteria are as superficial as the way someone looks seems to earn our trust while other times learning about their experiences helps us to trust them. I think it’s a good thing to constantly evaluate and challenge ourselves on though.

On to today’s reading!

Work Principles

Today’s section is more of an introduction into the work principles portion of the book. I’m going to highlight the main headings from this section and then include the parts that stood out to me.

  • “An organization is a machine consisting of two major parts: culture and people.
  • ‘Tough love’ is effective for achieving both great work and great relationships.
  • A believability-weighted idea meritocracy is the best system for making effective decisions.
  • Make your passion and your work one and the same and do it with people you want to be with.”

Work Principles Aren’t Slogans

Page 297 Principles aren’t slogans “but a set of concrete directives anyone can understand, get aligned on, and carry out.” I get frustrated with slogans, especially in schools. “We educate the whole child,” or “we have a zero-tolerance policy on bullying.” Anyone can say this but what are the directives that every person in the building can act on? That’s why I love this quote. It makes sense to be intentional about the way I think about writing “slogans” vs. concrete directives.

What is a Good Measure of a Partnership?

PAGE 304 “The main test of a great partnership is not whether the partners ever disagree but can, they bring them to the surface and get through them well.” This is something I really value in my marriage right now. We have worked tirelessly to be open with each other during conflicts and I think it has made us stronger. This quote could almost seem like common sense but I love to highlight things like this to review later to remind me of my own north star.

What is Tough Love?

Page 305 Dalio uses the term “tough love” to describe how great work and great relationships. But he immediately dismisses the common use of the term because he speaks eloquently against poor use of criticism, for example.

My mind immediately goes to both parenting and education. He’s right that “tough love” is incorrect; the phrase has very negative connotations and just comes with a lot of baggage. But telling people to just be “loving” can make people feel like they need to just be a doormat. In strong relationships, we need to be able to point out things that are problems while also being approachable to share real emotions with. This is a powerful dynamic but I see the need for it.

Two concepts he digs into might actually embody this “tough love”:

  • Radical truth = toughness
  • Radical transparency= love / tenderness

Without truth, our love can be permissive but without transparency, our toughness can overbearing and cold.

We’ve all been in those relationships where there’s not enough truth and transparency. But I can’t recall a relationship where there was too much. Seems like something worth exploring more.

I hope this gives you something to think on in your relationships!

Thank you for reading along with me.

Thoughtfully,

Philip

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