When to Drop a Committed Action

I realized today as I was looking at my two committed actions that they were commitments not so much to actually get a result, but to take an action that was one particular way to get that result.

I found a much easier way to get my end result, which meant I didn’t have to take the committed action at all.

What’s odd about this is that I’ve been really trying to be a bit of a stickler with myself about doing the things I said I would do.

Means vs. Ends; Intermediate Goals

So in life, we have some things we desire as a means, and some we desire as an end in themselves, and some things are ends that serve a bigger end.

How do you know if you can “let yourself off the hook” for some action?

The simple answer is when the action is to accomplish something that has already been accomplished, or when you find a better action to take to accomplish that action.

Another place is when you realize that your committed actions aren’t actually on the critical path.

If you’ve committed to doing Surface Level, or even somewhat tangential tasks, and realize they’re not actually serving you in getting to the next most important goal, then you should put it aside until it matters and figure out what actually matters.

(Caveat: Don’t spiral and get stuck looking for the most impactful action. You’ll never make perfect decisions or do the exact right thing. Do whatever seems right, and check in with yourself to stay honest.)

An Example

Today I was looking for a way to get the Gitlab MR data so I could build a script to collect and analyze statistics.

Turns out most of the data is already available in Gitlab itself, and I didn’t have to do that.

So – done.

And then I had an action to look up 5 Print-on-Demand suppliers and get pricing. I half did this a week ago, and just picked the next one on my list and ordered some samples… if it’s good enough, it doesn’t matter if pricing is not ideal right now, because I don’t need to optimize my margins. I need to find customers. Finding customers is the only thing that makes a business.

I do need to make my website 50% less crappy.

But the key is to figure out how to get my products onto lots and lots of platforms, and then start doing social media marketing to see if I can get some viral content out in the world.

These are things that could make a difference.

If I had major volume, I could find a cheaper way to produce the product and make my margins amazing.

But the critical straight-line is finding customers.






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