Imagine a circle of ten kids, passing the ball from one to another.
What you do when you don’t have the ball doesn’t have much impact on how fast the ball moves around. But during the moments when the ball is yours, every second you spend is a second added to the route.
That route is called the critical path. It’s the irreducible schedule, the sum total of all the required steps.
If you work on a team, part of your job is to know where the critical path is, and to know when you’re on it. The rest of your day is devoted to helping those that are on the path or getting ready for your turn.
Should you give up?
There are people who have read far more books than you have, and you will certainly never catch up.
Your website began with lousy traffic stats, in fact, they all do. Should you even bother?
The course you’re in–you’re a few lessons behind the leaders. Time to call it quits?
Quitting merely because you’re behind is a trap, a form of hiding that feels safe, but isn’t. The math is simple: whatever you switch to because you quit is another place you’re going to be behind as well.
It’s not a race, it’s a journey. And the team that scores first doesn’t always win.
Seth Godin’s blog from 6/20/2018:
That’s what the sign at the airport cafe said.
It’s clearly a state of mind. Everyone at the airport is in one of two states: in a hurry, or killing time. The absolute number isn’t relevant–it doesn’t matter how many minutes until the flight that they’re expecting to catch. What matters is their state.
The same thing is true for someone on a commute, or a creative person at work.
You’re either in a hurry (with all the negative and positive that this state entails) or you’re not.
At the airport, people in a hurry are stressed, distracted and no more likely to make their flight.
At work, on the other hand, people in a hurry avoid getting sidetracked and (sometimes) are more likely to leap.
The two opportunities:
- redefine “in a hurry” to be a version of your best self. So that “hurry” isn’t a crutch, an excuse or a bane. It’s an asset.
- Turn on “hurry” whenever you need it, and turn it off when you don’t.
I find that it’s not just “creative people” at work. It is a mindset that a person carries with them through every task they are doing. For some, it a product of over commitment; other people are poor planners that put themselves in this state.