Decision Making & Happiness

with Kevin Fishner

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Kevin sets a strict 6am - 6pm schedule for a more liberating lifestyle

Kevin Fishner

Director of Marketing, Founder & CEO, Philosophy Enthusiast

Lessons Learned

There is no such thing as a truly new idea.

A weekly feedback mechanism should be used – it helps keep you on track.

No one is original.


Lesson: Decision Making & Happiness with Kevin Fishner

Step #2 Scheduling: Kevin sets a strict 6am - 6pm schedule for a more liberating lifestyle

So, I have one repository for all my notes. I use a service called Simplenote and the word is pretty obvious, it's just a notepad that you can tag and bucket. What this is is a resource to, anything I read or any interesting video I watch, I put in SimpleNote and then when I'm looking for inspiration it's an easy place to go through and create new ideas from it.

I believe that a truly original, new idea, there's no such thing as that. Rather, it's a different combination of things that already exist. So, Steven Johnson who wrote Where Good Ideas Come From talks about this with the Apollo 13 crash landing where the crew on Earth took all the materials that the astronauts had, laid them out on a table and said, “How can we combine this and create something new?”

That's the allegory for how good new ideas are created, is here are all the materials that we have, how can we combine them to create something new and original, but it's really just a remix of existing ideas. So that's the way that I approach goal setting and deciding what to work on, is these are the things that have inspired me over the past month or two months, how can I combine them to create something new?

For goal setting I use a framework of Google's OKRs, so that's Objectives and Key Results, but the key part about it is each objective and each key result is extremely measurable. So at the end of the month or end of the quarter you can say, “Yes, I did this,” for every goal you set. This is important so you can't kind of vacillate on yourself and say, “Yeah, sure, I kind of accomplished this. I wrote 800 words,” but when your goal is you must write 1,000, you know that you accomplished it or not.

I do a bit of a variation on that with focuses, and what that does is it breaks down monthly or quarterly goals into weekly objectives. So if it's in a business setting bring on 20 new customers, if that's over a month you have four weeks, so that means you need to bring on 5 customers each week. So if you're tracking that weekly what happens is yes, you could have a bad week where you only bring on one, but you know that there was a flaw there and you can fix it right away. So by having a weekly feedback mechanism, it allows you to stay on track and then be sure to hit the goal by the end of that longer term focus.

The reason I decided to personalize OKRs is I found myself rushing to accomplish them at the end of long term periods. So at the end of the month, the last three days, “Oh my god, I'm not going to hit this objective for myself. What do I need to do?” So instead of rushing to accomplish something, it was easier to segment it out into shorter periods, and, yes, I might rush at the end of a week, but it's rushing at the end of each week and I'm more on pace to hit it by the end. So it was a better way to have a weekly feedback to make sure I was progressing properly.

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