The Key To Personal Improvement

There’s a lot of thinking at the moment around using agile methods, quick prototyping, seeing what works and rejecting what doesn’t. In all sort of  circumstances this is a valuable approach.

However, there’s one problem at the personal level. Our memory, or perhaps more accurately, our decision making processes, aren’t up it.

In essence the decisions we have made in the past can shape our perceptions of the future, and most importantly, we may not even be aware of it.

It turns out there’s a fairly simple solution to this issue. Namely, keeping a diary. And now, with tools like  Skydrive or Dropbox it’s much easier for a diary to follow us around, assuming the presence of an internet connection.
The goal is not to document your deepest feelings, just to document what you were trying to achieve – before you know the outcome of the decision – ideally right after the decision occurs, hence before bias can be introduced.
Doing this avoids the unhelpful tricks memory plays on you and ultimately will make you a better decision maker. Peter Drucker is a strong proponent of this style of documented decision making to improve learning.

One response to “The Key To Personal Improvement

  1. Woo hoo! I say it a bit more differently “train your gut by collecting and tracking your data.” My context and data collection is also focused on knowing and understanding large and complex projects (or even organizations) that we are managing.

    (More on project management by living with our data:

    The Invisible Gorilla, And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons – is another great source for more on these kind of ideas.

    Great post.


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