Step 2: Clarify
Once in a while, you have an epiphany!
Have you completed the “Mind Sweep” exercise in first step “Capture” ?
If so, you must have experienced a huge sense of relief.
But without concrete next steps to clarify each thing that you’ve captured, stress-free productivity can never happen.
You would feel ‘stuck’, and end up procrastinating on executing your commitments.
So what’s the secret to overcome procrastination?
The answer is in the step Clarify.
What is Clarify?
Most people who want to be productive, maintain some kind of to-do list, to help them track what they need to do.
Here’s what a typical to-do list may look like:
– Mom’s birthday
– Marketing Campaign
– Ramesh Kumar
– Service Car
Here’s why a to-do list like this is a problem. It doesn’t tell you:
- What’s the next action you need to take in order to move forward on the commitment?
- What the successful outcome?
These are the two questions you need to ask in order to “Clarify” all the items you’re Capturing in Step 1.
How to Clarify:
So if you were to apply these questions to the to-do list example above this is what it would look like:
Best Practice of Clarify:
- Clarify when it first shows up. Just like the woodcutter who sharpens his saw before cutting down a tree, an effective executive asks “What’s the Next Action” as soon as a commitment shows up in his life.
Worst Practice of Clarify:
- The worst practice is to Clarify when things blow up on you. That’s like remembering to replace dead batteries during a blackout.
What are my next steps?
- For each item on the mind sweep, ask the clarifying questions.
- What’s the Next Action?
- What’s the Successful Outcome?