Book recommendation: The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

Disciplines of execution

That hardest part of my job is managing my time. I’ve got many things to juggle at once, from technical competence, writing code, learning about what’s coming, and maintaining multiple relationships with folks across Philadelphia and the gaming industry.

I struggle to focus on a select few goals at a time, but It’s slowly getting better. Someone recommended that I read The 4 Disciplines of Execution, which is about achieving goals, despite the whirlwind of life and everything it throws your way.

It’s not one of those self-help books with absurd, abstract ideas, and for that reason alone, I found it to be extremely useful. Rather than focus on the “what you need to do, it illustrates the “how” aspect, which is always more work. We always know what needs to get done, but figuring out how to go about that is always the hardest part.

It’s a pretty short read, but really work your time, and for your situation in particular, I think it can really help. I recognized a lot of parallels in my own work, and immediately realized how it can help.

People often mention the fact that they are having to juggle many roles and skills at once. The book calls that “life’s whirlwind.” There are things that come by, which we have no control over, but still need to get done.

At the same time, it’s important to focus on 20-30% of your time on the things that really matter — the goals you NEED to get done to get ahead. Block out time for that, before anything else, otherwise, the whirlwind takes over.

Take a step back, decide which 2-3 things REALLY need your focus, and turn up the dials on those. Once you are satisfied with those results, put those 3 things to the side, and select another 3.

Urgent ≠ Important
Important = Urgent

I look at it as, “which 3 things can I immediately control, which will drive the biggest results.” That’s where you need to place your focus. In more practical terms, the author uses an example such as:
“I need to write 2k lines of code, which improve the performance of the game by 10%, and have this completed within the next 90 days.” 
You can control all of that.