Jun 01, 2021 | by Budi Tanrim
The power of anti-goals
How can you be more productive?
That’s tough to answer. But, if you invert that into: What are things that make me NOT productive and how do I avoid it? Suddenly, it becomes easier to answer.
Tricky questions occur when we don’t know yet what the answer would be. We don’t know yet what best practice there is. We don’t know yet what we want to accomplish.
This is where anti-goals will be useful. It’s a guiding principle that you can use to be less wrong. As Charlie Munger, the close partner of Warren Buffet, advocated the idea to inverse a problem:
“Problems frequently get easier if you turn them around in reverse. In other words, if you want to help India, the question you should ask is not ‘how can I help India,’ it’s ‘what is doing the worst damage in India and how do I avoid it?”
For example, instead of describing the perfect scenario on how to have a productive day, you define the barriers and blockers:
- Constantly checking Twitter on my mobile phone
- Packed calendar all-day long
- Taking a long time to start my day
Then you convert them into anti-goals:
- Never put my phone close to me when working
- Never schedule more than four meetings in a day
- Never going to sleep before planning for the next day
You can expand the concept to any aspect of your life and work. You can easily start this by having a discussion with your team. So, what are your anti-goals?