Speed And Velocity

Not To Confuse Activity With Accomplishment


Speed And Velocity. Not To Confuse Activity With Accomplishment. Illustrative graphic of moving cars.

Speed And Velocity - Overview

Speed and velocity is a mental model drawn from physics. Speed is how fast you are moving, velocity is how fast you are moving in a specific direction.

Speed is measured as a scalar which is a quantity that is fully described by a magnitude of numerical value in relation to a metric e.g. miles per hour, number of emails/meetings/calls per day.

Velocity is measured as a vector that is a quantity that is fully described by BOTH a magnitude of numerical value in relation to a metric AND a direction. e.g miles per hour heading south towards New York / London etc. number of emails/meetings/calls per day to the achievement of a specific milestone to the completion of a project or other clearly defined objective.

Let's move beyond physics and apply this to everyday life and in the context of the purpose and objectives of this site: namely

  1. To show you how to cope in tough times, and to provide you with the tools to do this successfully.
  2. To show you how to think effectively and how to master the art of not thinking, because a quiet mind is an insightful mind and a resourceful mind.
  3. Understanding that the outcomes that you experience are determined by your responses to the events in your life.
  4. The strength and quality of your response is determined by the quality of your thinking.


So let us reframe speed and velocity as:

Speed = Rate of Activity or "Busyness" Per Day - for example, over the past 24 hours, how many emails/messages you have initiated or responded to, how many calls you have made, how many meetings you have attended, how much planning and research you have engaged in.

Velocity = Rate of Activity Per Day Measured As Achieved Milestone[s] Towards Your Specific Objective - how far has this activity and "busyness" progressed you towards your overall objective?

All too often we confuse activity with accomplishment, and this is especially prevalent in the corporate working environment.






Speed And Velocity - The Politics Of Perception

DW

The politics of perception in corporate working life are sufficiently distorted that your "busyness" is seen and celebrated as a badge of honour - hence "the long hours culture".

In my past experiences in corporate life in the UK my colleagues and I coined a phrase:

The 3 levels of wanting

  1. Wanting to do something and actually getting on and doing it.
  2. Wanting to be seen to be doing something.
  3. Wanting to be seen to be wanting to do something.

Only the first category had anything to do with veloclty, the rest was just varying degrees of "busyness" sufficient to throw up a "chaff screen" and deflect unwelcome senior management attention!






Speed And Velocity - Saying "No" To The Non-Essential


In "Understanding Speed and Velocity: Saying “NO” to the Non-Essential" Shane Parrish provides some excellent examples of how and why he learned to say no to the non-essential requests that were put to him by his boss when he was working in the field of cyber-security, and he makes the obervation that:

"...saying yes to everything is a quick road to mediocrity.."

Shane offers the following advice:

"You need to distinguish between tasks that offer a lot of speed and those that offer velocity.

Here are three ways you can increase your velocity:

  1. To the extent possible, ruthlessly shave away the unnecessary tasks, priorities, meetings, and BS.
  2. Don’t rely on your willpower to say no; instead, create systems that help you fend off distractions.
  3. And finally, do as I did, and say “no” to your boss. "



    “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” [Warren Buffett]







Speed And Velocity - Task Optimisation

Knowing The Point At Which An Essential Task Becomes Non-Essential

Freepik

Most material that I have seen on this mental model focuses on saying "No" to non-essential requests and activities.

The locus of control here is external in that it relates to things that are external to you and your point of focus.

I agree with this, but in my experience there is an additional dimension to this, and this is to do with task optimisation.



    With task optimisation the locus of control is internal

    # This is about knowing the point at which focused "busyness" does not increase velocity and starts to impede it.

    # This is about knowing when an essential task becomes inessential.



Let me illustrate this point with the example of the creation of this article and its posting on this webpage.

I am currently working to a schedule of creating and posting one webpage per day.

In order to achieve this successfully I need to accomplish a series of tasks in a specific sequence and within a defined time window.

So, this morning I knew that my subject for today was "speed and velocity". To achieve my objective for today there are 3 main tasks.

1] Reading and research of subject material  for this article and considering my own real life experiences in this area.

2] Drafting and formatting the material.

3] Posting this material as a webpage.

I have found from considerable experience of this process that I need about two to three hours for steps 2 and 3, but unless I am careful step 1 can take far longer than it should. This morning I found myself getting drawn deeper and deeper into the physics of this subject, which as a non-academic I found interesting and challenging.

After a while I realised that I was wasting time and continued research was beyond the scope of this article. So, in practical terms, I had reached the optimum allocation of resource and effort that was required to complete step 1.

I was able to do this because I have extensive experience of this process and I have an established set of criteria that enables me to make this call.



    You need to be very clear about the optimum allocation of resource and effort to a task that is required to achieve maximum velocity.

    You also need to establish clear metrics that enable you to know when you have reached that optimum point.








Return from "Speed and Velocity" to: Mental Models




English Chinese (Traditional) Russian French German Italian Spanish Vietnamese


LATEST ARTICLES

  1. The Challenges Of The Road Less Traveled

    Issues You'll Face When Playing The Long Game. The challenges of the road less traveled is loosely based around the phrase popularised by M.Scott Peck with his book "The Road Less Traveled". This arti…

    Read More

  2. How To Benefit From the Unseen Margins - 5 Key Tips For Success

    These Unseen Margins Can Have A Very Dramatic Impact On Your Life. To understand how to benefit from the unseen margins we need to start by understanding what they are and where we find them. In this…

    Read More

  3. The Art Of Thinking Clearly - How To Do More Than Just Survive And Reproduce

    3 Key Tips The art of thinking clearly starts with the sobering realisation that our brains are designed to achieve two things: Survival and Reproduction! 98% of our thinking is unconscious, automatic…

    Read More

  4. Algorithms to Live By - 5 Useful Rules Of Thumb

    5 Useful Heuristics From Algorithms To Live By The thesis of the book "Algorithms to Live By" is that algorithms developed for computers can be used by people in everyday life in a wide range of situa…

    Read More

  5. Finding Signal In The Noise - How To Avoid The Noise Bottleneck

    The Art Of Being Wise Is The Art Of Knowing What To Overlook. We are blessed and cursed to live in the digital age. We have access to more information than we can possibly handle yet we struggle to fi…

    Read More

  6. The Checklist Manifesto - Your Personal Safety Net

    A Checklist Is A Safety Net That Encourages Better Results And Prevents Avoidable Mistakes. The volume and complexity of what we know has exceeded our individual ability to deliver its benefits correc…

    Read More

  7. How Not To Be Stupid - 4 Key Tips

    How To Avoid The 7 Causes Of Everyday Stupidity. We are all capable of everyday stupidity as we undertake routine tasks in our business and working lives and also in our personal lives. This is not ab…

    Read More

  8. Beginners Mind And The Voice Of Experience

    Only The Experts Survived Evolution. "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few." These are the famous words of Shunryu Suzuki in "Zen Mind, Beginner's Min…

    Read More

  9. The Art Of Being Alone Is A Skill

    Let's Make Today A Good Day. You may not have chosen the condition of being alone, and it may have been imposed upon you by circumstances beyond your control, but your response to the situation is wit…

    Read More

  10. Intuition & Anxiety - Are There Angels Or Devils Calling Here?

    How To Tell The Difference Between Intuition and Anxiety. How do you know whether the voice of your intuition is real or just the product of your inner anxiety? We all struggle with these inner voices…

    Read More

  11. Like A Prayer - Life Is A Mystery

    It Isn't The Process Of Prayer That’s The Problem, It’s The Way It’s Framed. Regardless of what we feel about Madonna or her song the topic of prayer often arouses strong reactions. Usually, it is som…

    Read More

  12. Fear Of Missing Out - "I'll Have What She's Having!"

    We Follow The Herd - We Mimic Other People's Choices. Fear of missing out - or FOMO as it is popularly referred to - is the feeling that everyone else in your peer group is having much more fun than y…

    Read More

  13. Free - Self Improvement Resources

    Exercising Balance and Discernment. I have just updated these self improvement resources with a number of additional sources of material that are practical and can help you change your life. Check it…

    Read More

  14. Your Higher Self - Your Hardwired Portal To The Universe

    This Is The You That Is Beyond Your Thinking Mind. This is the big you, the transcendent you, the you that is often referred to as your higher consciousness or higher self. This is the you that acts a…

    Read More

  15. The Power Of Gratitude - It's Good For You!

    Gratitude And Attitude Are Not Challenges, They Are Choices. The power of gratitude quite simply is that it is good for you! Many of us were raised by parents who instilled in us the social niceties o…

    Read More

  16. Living With Your Thoughts - 4 Tools To Help You

    Develop A Good Working Relationship With Your Mind. The first step in living with your thoughts is to understand and develop a good working relationship with all areas of your mind. The key to develop…

    Read More

  17. You Are Not Your Thoughts - How To Escape This Ferris Wheel Of Suffering

    The 4 Stages To Dealing With Your Thoughts. You are not your thoughts, at least that's what your rational mind tells you most of the time, but that's definitely not how it feels at 3 am when you have…

    Read More

  18. Finish What You Start - Action Will Destroy Your Procrastination

    4 Key Tips To Help You Finish What You Start. So why do you fail to finish what you start? Or in my case, why do I fail to even get started? There is a wealth of information out there about how to avo…

    Read More

  19. Going The Extra Mile - The Power Of One More

    Life Is Non-Linear, Which Makes The Rewards Of Continued Effort Disproportionately Big. In the pursuit of a long term goal you have to go countless extra miles to set yourself up for a big success. Go…

    Read More

  20. Tao Te Ching - Connecting To Your True Source Of Power.

    How To Be Lived By The Tao. The Tao Te Ching is one of those books that many people read, few understand, and even fewer put into practice. The only way to know the Tao is to experience it, and it is…

    Read More

  21. Dying To Self & Dropping The Ego

    Everything Does Not Revolve Around Me. The two phrases dying to self & dropping the ego are Christian and Buddhist expressions of the same fundamental truth - the need to correct the inbuilt, hardwire…

    Read More

  22. The Confident Mind - 4 Keys To Peak Performance

    Peak Performance Is Meditation In Motion. Peak performance is grounded in the Tao practise of Wu Wei which means "doing with out doing". This is all about how you take action by being so immersed in p…

    Read More

  23. Going With The Flow - The Balance Of Being And Doing

    Steer The Boat Each Day Rather Than Plan Ahead Way Into The Future. Going with the flow is about learning to become comfortable with uncertainty, and learning how to exploit the potential hidden withi…

    Read More

  24. 8 Principles For Success

    A Timeless Foundation On Which To Build Your Success. There are Universal laws and processes that work to support us and guarantee that we achieve all our goals. But first we need to know what they ar…

    Read More

  25. The Loving Father

    A Love That Will Not Let You Go. I had a loving father. I knew that I did, but I never felt it. My father was a good man but very damaged and unable to show his feelings. So I grew up knowing in my he…

    Read More

  26. Your Ebenezer Stone Of Help

    How To Stay Connected To Your True Source Of Power. Approximately 2,500 years ago the Israeli town of Kafr Qasim was close to the site of two battles between the ancient Israelis and their neighbours…

    Read More

  27. The Stockdale Paradox

    How To Deal With The Attrition Factor. The Stockdale Paradox is named after the late James Stockdale, former vice presidential candidate, naval commander and prisoner of war during the American-Vietna…

    Read More

  28. Embrace Your Fear Of Failure And Uncertainty

    We Celebrate Success And Ignore Failure. Numerous studies have been undertaken on successful people to understand what it was that they did to become so successful, how they did it and when they did i…

    Read More

  29. The Wilderness Years - 3 Keys To An Exit

    How You Got Into The Wilderness Matters Less Than The Lessons To Be Learnt There. The wilderness years can be described as any lengthy time, longer than a year, that is spend aimlessly; without an imm…

    Read More

  30. Boredom – Your Greatest Threat to Results

    We Live In A World That Glorifies The Results And Not The Process. We all know what we should be doing, but the trouble with that is that sooner of later we get bored. The enjoyment fades, the excitem…

    Read More



Get new posts by email:









Zen-Tools.Net





Support This Site