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Afterword > Practicing Common Sense (Part 1)

Practicing Common Sense (Part 1)

It's all been a bit pointless—me writing this book and you reading it, I mean—if you don't do something as a result. Conveniently, because it wasn't deliberate on my part, we have ended up with seven principles of common sense. Thus, one way you could begin to remember them and, more important, to apply them, would be to concentrate on a different one each day of the week.

  • Mondays, focus on Principle 1, “Many things are simple.” You could focus on trying to keep things simple. Try to plan for an uncomplicated day with less rushing around than normal. At meetings, if things look like they're getting too complicated, drag the participants back to a simpler view of things. Ask yourself constantly if things are as simple as they could be. Perhaps extend the simplicity to other areas of your life—what you wear, what you eat, how you get to work, how much garbage you generate, or how much of the world's resources you use. Find a simple pleasure that you enjoy and make space for it in the day. Take something that you normally do that day and try to find a simpler way of doing it. Try something off the “So What Should You Do?” list at the end of Chapter 1.

  • Tuesdays, focus on Principle 2, “Know what you're trying to do.” Have an objective that you're trying to achieve today and achieve it no matter what. For any meetings you go to, calls you make, or presentations you give, understand in advance what you're hoping to get from them. Review at the end of the day how you did. Try something off the “So What Should You Do?” list at the end of Chapter 2.

  • Wednesdays, focus on Principle 3, “There is always a sequence of events.” Think in terms of sequences of events. Do the things you intend to do today align with the bigger goals you have identified for yourself? Are the jobs you intend to do today taken from the stacks of your various undertakings? After meetings, calls, or conversations, ensure that things aren't left hanging, but that everybody is clear about what is going to happen next. Try something off the “So What Should You Do?” list at the end of Chapter 3.

  • Thursdays, focus on Principle 4, “Things don't get done if people don't do them.” From a personal point of view, focus on finishing the things you intended to get done. Review how you fared at the end of the day. How did things actually pan out? Did you achieve what you set out to achieve, or did other things intervene? If the latter, what can you learn from today and what can you do to ensure that this doesn't happen to you again? If you have people doing things for you, are they clear on what needs to be done? Are you happy that they've thought through their sequences of events and have ample time to do what they've promised? Use dance cards with them if they're having problems, because their problems will eventually become your problems. Try something off the “So What Should You Do?” list at the end of Chapter 4.

  • Fridays, focus on Principle 5, “Things rarely turn out as expected.” Ask yourself if there are contingencies in place on all of your key projects. Have you done a risk analysis on them? If not, do one. If you have, review your Top 10 Risks lists and see if you're doing all you can to mitigate them. Try something off the “So What Should You Do?” list at the end of Chapter 5.

  • Saturdays, focus on Principle 6, “Things either are or they aren't.” If you're at home, then this will probably raise questions about the status of that do-it-yourself job that's been outstanding for a long time, or something in the garden, or the washing or the cooking for next week, or the homework assignment for the course you're taking, or things to do with the children. If you've chosen the five-day common-sense week, then keep the focus on whether things are really done; and if people are claiming they are done, how can they prove it. Try something off the “So What Should You Do?” list at the end of Chapter 6.

  • Sundays, focus on Principle 7, “Look at things from others' points of view.” This is not a bad thing to do any day of the week. Spend a little time seeing the world as somebody else sees it—your partner, child, parent, employer, boss, subordinate, team member, peer, work colleague, family member, or friend. You might be surprised by what you'll learn. Try something off the “So What Should You Do?” list at the end of Chapter 7.


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