This is part III of my ACE Framework Series in which I explain why I needed a new approach to how to do things! You can read part I and II here and here.
To do right things is not always a requirement! To do the RIGHT things it is! This adage is what I’m thinking of when I need to focus on the things that matter or should weight more for me in my life and work. This is, also the reason, why I have developed the ACE framework!
I have developed the ACE framework as a supporting scheme to my organization activities, because I needed some elements I thought that were missing from other formal approaches (like the GTD is, the Second Brain, The Covey Approach, etc.)!
Hello Takis and thank you for being here. This is the third part of this mini-series of my newsletters about the ACE framework, which I have written as a response to the queries I have received from many of my readers.
I was feeling that many things were missing from the whole picture, especially when I’m using the ACE framework as a presupposition for the things I want to support.
Mind you that this is a framework I have developed at first to support the (self)-leadership efforts of my associates and people I work with in order to master their life and business. Many times, over and over again, I have heard from the people around me that “the things that I do now have nothing to do with the things I’d like or meant to do” or that “the things I’m doing have no real effect to my life or my work“.
The Back Story
This is a problem, because without solid foundation and a cohesive directional system you cannot accomplish your life goals or your mission in life!
As a goal-oriented projectile missile you also you need to have a gyroscope to help you realise where you are at any moment and change your course accordingly, a goal to know where you want to be, and a propulsion to move you forward.
This was my first remark in order to start structuring or pick up the components needed for an integrated decision-making and value-gaining leadership approach you can use seamlessly in you life to bring about the results you want.
The first thing of course if to define/realise what you really want (i.e. you cannot expect to make a lot of money if you don’t spend the hours needed or have a successful career or relationship if you don’t have time to spend with your loved ones). You need to be specific and start to define meticusly what you want at all major areas of your life (like family, work, career, health, etc.) while you set your priorities.
You need to spend the time to record and define all the things, you want filter them against your core values and principles, the ways you bring results, the obstacle you need to overcome, etc.
This is the alignation phase and should encompass all the things you are and you want to achieve (but not the ways of doing it!)
This is the first level of filtering your “dreams” into tangible life goals and record the approaches/strategies of how to achieve them.
You need alignation process in order to be sure that you do the right things and not just the things right! The results of this work would limit the vast number of the things you liked to do to the things YOU REALY CAN DO based on your own specific characteristics and skills while you can live the rest for implementation in a later time.
The result would be a set of you core life goals you need to accomplish in order to be compatible with the things you want to achieve in life and business/
The next level is to filter more the things you want to do and to COMPOSE the specific ways that are SUITABLE for you for accomplishing the task and activities needed to serve your life goals.
The Art of Composing Based on Your Personality, Characteristic, Available Resources and Limitations
Compose is the phase where you know what you want to achieve and you need to define the ways to do it! It is the phase in which you start to transform a vast amount of wants, needs, should do, etc. to tangible actions and outcomes.
During this phase you need to start planning specifically the HOW you do something in order to have the results you want by bridging the gap between the specific life goals you have determine in the previous phase and your daily actions!
In this phase, you explore the multitude of resources at your disposal, including time, attention, focus, associates, mentors, networks, structured and science-based approaches for productivity and effectiveness, organization schemes, opportunities, tools, systems, and money against the obstacles you need to overcome and the specific goals you need to achieve.
Talking about resources I need to point out that the resources mentioned here are not related JUST with the things you have now at hand. Are also related to the skills, financial aims, competencies you are willing to develop in the short- or long- run, in order to do the things dictated by your goals with ease and proficiency.
This approach leaves a large space for developing the resource you will need (which you would have already defined, like learning to code for example) and provides flexibility encompass in a goal, not only the why and how, but also and the skills/competencies/systems, etc. required for accomplishing each goal.
This might proven a valuable metric to hep you realise why some goals are more ripe for execution than other.
This process of composing is a process of constant filtering what’s feasible based on YOU and YOUR resources and aims at crafting actionable and easily attainable tasks that yield concrete (and specific) results per major area of your life.
The same process also allows you to pinpoint the available opportunities and study the ways in which you can exploit them towards your goals or you can’t and might you have let them pass by!
To integrate all the bits and pieces you need in a productive and effective you need to embrace all the schemes that are science proven and results oriented in order to manufacture activities/tasks/to-dos that would bring the results you want in every sector of your life!
You need to see how the daily to-dos provide results that utilize by the tasks or activities you have employed and how these are related to your major life goals. It also provides a benchmark against which you will evaluate each component, task, system, and approach and you will decide if you are going to continue with such system or you need to modify your approach.
In this quest, and during the phase of composing/synthesizing the available and existing resources and approaches you need to develop actionable and attainable tasks.
The composition phase necessitates transforming your goals into actionable and attainable tasks. To achieve this, several key elements come into play:
- Break Down Goals. Start by breaking down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks. These bite-sized actions enable you to make progress consistently and build momentum towards larger objectives.
- SMART Criteria. Adhering to the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) criteria ensures that your composed tasks possess clarity and specificity. This framework enhances your ability to measure progress and celebrate milestones.
- Prioritization. Not all tasks are created equal. Prioritize tasks based on their impact and urgency, allocating resources accordingly. By focusing on high-value tasks, you optimize productivity and achieve a sense of accomplishment.
- Realistic Expectations. While ambition fuels growth, it is crucial to maintain realistic expectations when composing tasks. Set goals that challenge you, yet remain within the realm of feasibility. This balance fosters sustained motivation and prevents burnout.
- Flexibility and Adaptability. Composing tasks is not a one-time affair. As circumstances evolve and new opportunities arise, adaptability becomes paramount. Embrace the dynamic nature of your venture and remain open to adjusting your tasks and resource allocation according to the thing you need to solve, the obstacles you need to overcome and the things you need to achieve. This flexibility allows you to optimize your path, ensuring that your composed tasks remain relevant and aligned with your overarching life goals.
- Iteration and Continuous Improvement. The composition phase is an iterative process, demanding continuous evaluation, monitoring, refinement and filtering according to the thing you want to achieve. You need to regularly review and reassess your tasks and resource availability and allocation to ensure optimal alignment with your evolving goals. Embrace a growth mindset, seeking opportunities for improvement and adjusting your approach as needed.
By embracing clarity, understanding the power of available resources, crafting actionable tasks, and fostering adaptability, you unlock the potential to compose a life that aligns with your goals. Remember, the art of composing is a dynamic process, requiring iteration and continuous improvement all the time.
This is part of the 3rd component of the ACE framework which is the execution and evaluation phase. But his is something we discuss further in a future article.