I’m no expert, but …

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I’ve been in business for more than forty years. There’s been a lot of fun and a lot of learning. I can’t claim any special expertise, but I’ve learned some things from my experience. Here are a few of them.

It’s your brain, use it wisely

You’re most likely to do great work when your brain is fresh. As you go through the day, your ability to make good decisions and do good work erodes.

So don’t waste your precious brain and willpower on trivial things. Make routine things routine with checklists, reminders, and habits. Do important work at the start of your day when you’re fresh.

I’m no expert, but that’s what I think.

Put first things on your schedule first

Yes, 80 percent of value comes from 20 percent of the things, but you may find that the most important thing delivers 50 percent of value. When you lay out your week, schedule the important things first. Then fill in around them.

I’m no expert, but that’s what I think.

Don’t be a cowardly problem solver.

If you’re scared to confront a problem, remember this. Most problems don’t solve themselves. Left to themselves, problems grow and fester. The longer you leave them alone, the more likely the end will be bad. So deal with it now. It will be harder later.

I’m no expert, but that’s what I think.

Just the right amount of planning

A little planning helps you stay on track. A lot of planning slows you down. Plan enough to get started, then adjust as needed.

I’m no expert, but that’s what I think.

Check in with reality

If you try several strategies and none of them work, the problem may not be the strategy. If several competent hardworking people fail at the same job, the people may not be the problem. Great systems make it easy for people to do great work. Dysfunctional systems make it impossible for talented people to do good work.

I’m no expert, but that’s what I think.

Design your policies for the majority

Most people, most of the time, will work hard and do the right thing. There will always be mistakes, but, in general, if you trust people to do the right thing, they will. Design your rules and policies for the hardworking people who do the right thing most of the time. Deal with exceptions as exceptions.

I’m no expert, but that’s what I think.

No matter where you are in your life and career, you’ve already learned a lot. Don’t lose the learning or let it go to waste. I’m no expert, but that’s what I suggest.

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