I’m working on figuring out a framework that helps me dictate the day, not the other way around. And that is what August Bradley talks about in systems thinking. And he talks about in his framework called Pillars, Pipelines and Vaults. And he presents this as a pyramid, a pyramid that has three key blocks, starting at the base of the pyramid, is your actions it’s that tasks for the day. The second layer of this pyramid is the projects, the projects that you need to be executing. And the third, the tip of the pyramid is your guiding principle. Now, I’ve been looking at this all my life from bottom up, and I think most people do. But what August said is, is actually the concept starts top down.
Hello, everybody, welcome to a brand new episode of the Elevated Entrepreneur Podcast. If this is your first time here, then you have a very big welcome from me. Thank you so much for being here, because I would not be doing this, if it weren’t for you, and your support, and everybody else who’s been listening to this podcast. Thank you for all of the feedback and all of the love and appreciation, you send my way. Today’s episode is about productivity. And you know me, I love talking about productivity. And you’ll hear me get really excited about certain things in this episode. There’s a lot to unpack in here. But I’m talking about giving you a framework that I’m learning as we speak. And I wanted to share this with you because this is what is influencing my mind, my day, and my habits. And I wanted to share this with you in the hopes that it may bring something to you that you may not know of. And there are three main concepts that I’m going to cover in this conversation. One is systems thinking. Second is thinking like a scientist. And the third one is a PKM system. Now, if any of these sound brand new to you, then you’re in the right place, because this is the kind of stuff that I’m being influenced by right now. And I want to share this with you. So if you’re going for a walk, grab your headphones, and if you’re driving, well tune in helped me cue the music.
You’re listening to the Elevated Entrepreneur Podcast, a podcast designed to help retailers, restaurant owners and entrepreneurs simplify business operations and use modern technology to elevate their business. here’s your host, Dhiren Bhatia.
All right, welcome to this episode on getting things done. Before we get this episode started, let me tell you, this episode isn’t going to be a step by step list of things that you should be doing on a day to day basis, but more a framework that I am learning to implement. And I thought I’d share with you. There are two other episodes that I have put out on the concept of productivity and getting things done. That’s Episode 20, which talks about the 321 Method for success, and Episode 27, which is the one about productivity systems, you can find both of these episodes by heading on over to the elevated entrepreneur podcast page, which is elevated entrepreneur.fm slash 20 or slash 27. Or you can find it in the app that you’re listening to. Both of them are more like a step by step list. And this episode is more high level more framework based because I’m learning to think differently. And I want to introduce you to a gentleman named Adam Grant, who introduced me to a concept of thinking like a scientist. And this book, think, again, is something that I’m reading right now. And it has a very big influence on my thought process now and there was one particular quote from the book that I wanted to read here. And that goes something like this, it’s “thinking like a scientist involves more than just reacting with an open mind. It means being actively open minded. It requires searching for reasons why we might be wrong, and not four reasons why we might be right, and revising our views based on what we learn.” That quote, got me thinking about what was I doing wrong or not necessarily wrong, but what could I be doing better and maybe taking things down and then building them back up. And for me, productivity and personal efficacy and efficiency are very important concepts because I know that if I need to get things going, I really need to figure out a better system. This is all about figuring out how to get things done better. And the second thing that I learned from a gentleman named August Bradley is a concept called Systems Thinking. Now I’m not going to get into what Systems Thinking is, but generally what it talks about is figuring out how to get to a point where you are able to get information in and out all the contents that we hear, read, see, which can then help you contextualize this information, figure out connected patterns, and then also finally use that information by resurfacing this information.
Phenomenal concept, I’m just scratching the surface right now. But these two people are influencing a lot of what I’m thinking about. And more importantly, there is the concept of PPV pillars, pipelines and vaults. And I’m going to take some of these elements, or I’m going to present them to you so that you can see how I’m implementing this in my life. So let’s get to the actual topic of today.
I’ve come to know from my team over the last six to eight months, and in my personal life over the last one year, there is a secret of getting things done, there is a secret to moving forward in life. For the longest part of my life, I’ve been waking up getting into the day and doing what the day calls for. But instead, over the last eight months, I’m working on changing this perspective. I’m working on figuring out a framework that helps me dictate the day, not the other way around. But I find that that is how most people approach their days, it’s about getting into the day, waking up doing what they have to do in the morning, whether that’s going to the gym, getting breakfast, maybe dropping the kids to the school, and then begins a cycle of just doing what the day calls for answering emails, answering phone calls, responding to this person getting that thing checked off your list, because it was on your list for some time. But hey, there’s a better way of doing this. And that is what August Bradley talks about in systems thinking. And he talks about in his framework called pillars, pipelines and vaults. And he presents this as a pyramid, a pyramid that has three key blocks, starting at the base of the pyramid, is your actions is the tasks for the day. The second layer of this pyramid is the projects, the projects that you need to be executing. And the third, the tip of the pyramid is your guiding principles. Now, I’ve been looking at this all my life from bottom up. And I think most people do, we look at our life bottom up in this pyramid, like I was saying earlier, we start a day we get things done, we move to the next big email that I need to answer the next urgent phone call that I need to get to. And then we keep going, hoping that we’re going to get things done and move the needle forward. But what Aug says is, is actually the concept starts top down. And he presents this in his YouTube channel, which I will link to in the show notes, it’s a great way to understand that what we want to do and what we want to achieve doesn’t start by doing the tasks that the day calls for, but rather from a much higher place in life. And he calls them guiding principles. Now the guiding principles are something that we’ve all heard about. It’s the why it’s the purpose of our lives. But more importantly, it’s not just that it’s all about the things that we like the things that we don’t like, it’s about the things that give us the most happiness. And what is important to us. Now, if we were to sit and get through a period of reflection and write these down, we start to form what August calls, guiding principles. He says it’s these guiding principles that we all need to keep up front and center. And from the guiding principles, you’re going to work your way down and build your list of projects. He talks about taking your guiding principles and converting them into goals. those goals become projects, projects, then become tasks. And on a day to day basis. What he says is if we are to figure out what those goals look like. And he then separates goals into value based goals and outcome based goals. outcome based goals are goals that have a quantifiable element to them. It’s something that you measure, break that out into a project, and then take that project and break it down into tasks. If we were to take those very tasks, and put them into our calendar, and to our to do list, we are going to move the needle forward. And sure there’s everything else that’s going to happen in our day to day life. But remember, I said rather than letting the day take control, we need to take control of the day. And it doesn’t start with just planning your tasks out, but rather at a much higher level. And so if you were to work our way down, your guiding principles, your goals, your projects, then your tasks. So let’s talk about goals. Because there are all sorts of goals that people create and all sorts of goals that we write down. I wrote down a big list of goals at the end of 2020. And something that I read in James clears newsletter is that the goal is not to read a book, it is to become a better reader. The goal is not to run a marathon. The goal is to become a runner. And the goal is not to learn an instrument it is to become a musician. I thought this quote was a phenomenal quote because all of the goals that we put together are so action oriented, they’re so focused on a quantifiable Magento they have their place in our lives, but I think If we were to reimagine our current life, figuring out our guiding principles, and then figuring out value based goals are really, really important because it’s these two things that then form our actual project list from which we then derive a task list.
And this would be a good time to bring in the PPV concept one more time, because in the PPV concept, all this talks about pillars, pipelines and vaults, and for the purpose of this discussion, I’m going to stick to this idea of pillars. The pillars, as you would imagine, as the word would explain, are the beams that hold up the roof. In this case, the pillars are the beams that hold up our life, what are these beams now, they may be very different for everybody. But mostly, it’s work, personal, and family. These are the three pillars that we all have in our lives. And we need to get things done in these pillars to be able to move a life forward, because without these pillars, our life will start crashing. So it’s the pillars that then morph into pipelines. Because as I was saying earlier, if you look at the base, you’ve got your goals, projects in the middle, and then you’ve got your tasks. So if you’ve got your projects and goals aligned towards your pillars, automatically, the tasks also then become aligned to your pillar. So if we continue to do on a day to day basis, the things that move the needle forward, automatically, and by virtue of the amalgamation with pillars, our pillars are getting stronger and stronger. And this is exactly what systems thinking is all about. It’s about figuring out a framework of how to get things done, but in a more relational manner, in a way that connects all the dots because tasks are not independent of our goals, goals are not independent of our aspirations. All of these are not independent of the things we stand for our family, our personal lives, and our work life. Now, what August also talks about is the supporting pillars, so you’ve got your pillars, which we just talked about. And then you’ve got supporting pillars and supporting pillars are the habits. The habits are what supports everything else, these are the adjoining beams, these are the beams that you put right next to the pillar or at the base of the pillar, maybe to get the pillar to stand strong and remain tall. Those supporting pillars are what August Bradley is referring to as habits. It’s the habits that we need to instill in ourselves every day, every month, every quarter, to make sure we’re doing the right thing.
So how does August do this? He has a review cycle. But he doesn’t. He suggests that we all review our progress on set intervals on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis, a quarterly basis and a yearly basis. And I know this sounds like a lot. But I think the key here is that if we are to set out on a path, and not keep checking if you’re still on that path, because life is like a forest. If you’re walking around in circles, we would never know we were walking in circles, unless we kept checking our progress. And so August suggests that we do these things in a very disciplined manner. This brings me to a really interesting quote that I read from a gentleman named Vern harnish. He says goals without routines are wishes. Routines without goals are aimless, the most successful business leaders have a clear vision, the discipline, and routines to make it a reality. In summary, routine sets you free. You’ve heard me say this in a couple of other episodes, it’s the routine that we need to follow every day, every week, every quarter, every month to make sure that we’re moving the needle forward. And so this whole framework of PPV is based around this idea of pillars, those pillars becoming into pipelines or things of execution. And then the third concept, which is vaults, that is basically the knowledge management piece of things. Again, I’m not going to go into this for this episode, but it’s a phenomenal framework that I wanted you to check out, you can find this on yours. zero.io. That’s August’s homepage. But coming back to this episode, the one thing that I have been trying to do is this idea of reviewing the idea of the weekly, quarterly monthly reviews. And I have to tell you, it’s tough.
There are weeks where I don’t get to do it just because I’ve prioritized something else. But like I said earlier, if we’re walking in a forest and we continue to walk in circles, how would we ever know, I am working on figuring out how to make these reviews a integral part of my life. This is the point where I need to make a commitment to myself that I will do this and if I don’t, I will set a penalty that I will have to pay. I know it’s a promise to myself. And these promises are the easiest ones to break, but I need to be more accountable to myself, but I’m hoping that by sharing this with you, I’m also going to make myself more accountable and tell myself about how important these are. Now the other thing I want to mention, and I’ve seen this happen whenever I did do The review cycle, the weekly the monthly ones, I start to judge myself, I start to make a longer list of action items. But the review cycles are not judgmental, they’re not action or task oriented, they’re more just to check if we’re headed in the right direction. It’s just a way to check if the train restraint is made up of many different compartments, just to see if any of them are out of alignment, and then bring them back in alignment by figuring out where things started to fall off the track. So remember, if you’re going to get into this, the supporting pillars are very important. And also, these are not judgmental, they’re not action oriented, but more just to get things back online. And more interestingly, what August even talks about in his videos on system thinking, is this idea of achievements and disappointments, he actually makes it a point to note down the achievements on a weekly basis, the things that he’s proud about, and also the disappointments, the things that he’s not happy about, what are the things that bought him sadness?
What are the things that he did not enjoy? Because when you start to review this on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis, and then finally, at the end of the year, we’re going to learn so much more about ourselves. And this takes us into a really interesting concept that I’ve covered in the two episodes, Episode 20. And Episode 27, is ideal day, an ideal week, if we figured out our guiding principles, we figured out our goals, both value and outcome based, we figured out a progress on those goals. And then finally, the tasks in those goals. And we’ll also reviewing them on a recurring basis, then we’ve also got our ideal day, an ideal week sorted out, which means that if we were to make sure that we plan our day and week out ahead, and not just this week, and next week, but the next few days in the next few weeks in the next few months, then we have a very clear path to walk on. And I think this is the secret to success. It’s this framework that we’ve just talked about. And making this part of our day to day lives is where I think I can be more successful. And I hope you will be too.
The last thing I want to talk about in this episode is systems because we started this episode with systems thinking. And one of the quotes that I recently read in James Claire’s newsletter was if you genuinely care about the goal, you will focus on the system. And I know he’s not talking about an IT system or a software system. But I love tech systems. And to get all of this working, I’ve decided to use notion as my tool of choice. If you subscribe to the double e bullet, you have referred about me recommending notion as a all in one productivity application, which replaces all the other systems that we all use on a day to day basis, Google Calendar, Dropbox, Google Drive, Asana things, the task manager apps, all of those can be done away with notion and notion is something that is very, very powerful. And it also forms the crux of August Bradley’s PPV system, and I’m learning to institute that in my life. Very, very fun stuff, super phenomenal. If you’re ever interested in comparing notes, or checking out my notion setup, I’d love to tell you more about it, and maybe even do an a YouTube video on it one day. But this is where I tie the whole thing together. It’s this system that I’m learning to use and building from the ground up to make my life a more successful life. There you have it, folks, thank you so much for spending time with me and helping me get through this really interesting episode, because I know this is not typically what I would share. But like I said, it’s more a framework. It’s more what is influencing me right now. And always happy to hear your thoughts, drop me a line, send me an email, or head on over to elevatedentrepreneur.fm/speak and leave me a comment that I can even then listen to, and maybe even feature here on the podcast.
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