This article first appeared on Alpha Efficiency Magazine: Issue Collecting, subscribe and buy here
Alpha Efficiency is designed around crucial steps that grow your productivity. Some of these steps relate to “Outer Game”: the productivity principles that determine the things you do that others can see. While the inner game and outer game are directly related, our experience has taught us that the best place to start is by looking at the things that can easily be replicated; things such as the choice of applications, methods, and structures.
We had a long debate about systems – GTD and others – and we are forming CORE as a result of our own observations on what works for us and we believe can work for others.
We started out by considering CORE as yet another “system” but saw the inherent fallacy of systems and the constraints they bring when you attempt to make them universal, but relevant, to thousands of people. Personally, we’ve tried and adapted numerous systems, but always found occasions where they were getting in the way of our productivity. All of these different systems had the good, the bad and the ugly, but we couldn’t apply any of them diligently in a way that worked perfectly for us.
CORE is an alternative approach. It’s a guiding set of principles that define Outer Game. We don’t want to tell you exactly how to apply CORE; we want you to figure that out for yourself because ultimately it will be very different from person to person. But the four principles that define CORE should resonate with pretty much everyone on some level.
Those four principles are:
You can have certain steps in between, add new ones, tweak existing, but the bottom line: this process exists and is evolving for everyone.
Everybody collects; whether it’s through email, where they are served with information, through talking with other people, where the information is retained in the mind, or through notebooks, calendars, and diaries where the information is made tangible by writing it down.
All of us also organize tasks, on a certain level; be it in our minds, on paper or in a digital system. We implicitly assign priorities to tasks that occur in our life, such as paying the bills, going to work, or meeting with our friends.
All people review their actions on a certain level. Some people take the time to reflect, to think of the consequences and rewards of their actions; Some review the outcomes, others dive deeper and introspect; for others it’s more intuitive and subconscious, reviewing the current situation and basing actions and habits based on the immediate environment.
What about Eliminate? Eliminating the things in our lives that aren’t moving us towards our goals creates more capacity for real action and creating the necessary results in our lives. This can be as simple as cutting out an unnecessary or unhelpful habit or routine, or as profound as quitting that crappy job that’s holding you back.
We are confident that you possess expertise in each and every principle of CORE. We know you are collecting, organizing, reviewing and eliminating the goals and tasks in your life in your own way.
The power of CORE, at least to us, lies in recognizing its flexibility and the power of making mindful choices. Take what you like; leave what you don’t. Be structured; be dynamic. Be cautious or be bold. By layering your personal choices on these underlying CORE principles, you can build a powerful Outer Game that works just how you want it to.
Start today: Assess the CORE behaviors you’re already applying in your life and consider what’s working well, what could be improved and what you need to eliminate.
This is the first step towards designing your perfect Outer Game.