The City of Victoria recently added a dedicated bike lane on one of its streets. I’m not talking about a simple dividing line, either. They put in medians to separate the lane from motor vehicle traffic and several other features to make these new lanes (and altered infrastructure) as noticeable as possible.
I hadn’t driven this route since the construction began, so all I got to see was the “before and after.” I knew the construction was going on but only noticed the intricacies of the changes by looking as I drove along the corridor.
Noticing only occurs when you look around. Otherwise you’re relying on the observations and accounts of others.
In my experience there are three specific places to look at in order to look around in a way that allows you to make forward progress faster… and better.
1. Look Beyond Today
One of the biggest things you can do to make forward progress faster and better is to plan beyond the current day. If you aren’t already planning tomorrow before the end of today, you should. Leaving the current day’s planning to the “day of” puts you at risk of having an incomplete plan for the day, or worse, having “the day run you.”
2. Look to Yesterday
There is definite value in looking at what led up to this moment, especially when it comes to your productivity. You don’t need to dwell on it, but having information from your past can help you make better informed decisions for your future. One of the best ways to give yourself this history to review is to journal regularly – perhaps even daily like I do.
3. Look Elsewhere
You don’t have all the answers and you certainly don’t always have the best perspective to look at things objectively. That’s why reading older books can be such a huge help for you and your productivity. But looking elsewhere for advice and tactics on how to move forward with your intentions is a good idea. Like looking to yesterday, you want to make sure you do this in moderation; otherwise you can wind up falling victim to “paralysis by analysis.”
If you want to make forward progress with as little friction as possible – not unlike the motorists and cyclists in Victoria – you need to look around.
And now you know where to start.