A simple approach to any endeavor

I want to share something I learned recently in a class I took at a local university. It is the four “R”s for approaching a project. They are: Read, reflect, respond and relax. Let me explain.

Read – When you are about to do anything, you need to study the situation as much as you can. Gather data, talk to people who have done something similar, read all you can about it, so that you understand what you are getting into.

Reflect – Once you have gathered data and information, take time to reflect on what you have found. Do you have enough information to truly understand what you are undertaking? What else to you need to know before you can make an informed decision about how to proceed? What experience have others had trying something similar? How can you do better? There are a myriad of questions you can ask yourself, but the point is to take time to seriously consider what you are trying to do, based on the information you collected during the “read” phase.

Respond – Once you have gathered all the relevant information, and considered it thoroughly, then respond. This is where most projects fall apart. Many people have aspirations. They say they want to do things. Perhaps they even gather information about their potential project and make a plan for carrying through with it. But when it comes to execution, they don’t get around to it. They let other things get in the way. They get distracted. They simply don’t follow through. Obviously, if you are serious about anything, you need to respond. Take the information you have, and the plan you have developed and actually follow through.

Relax – After you have completed the project or endeavor, take some time to relax and savor your accomplishment. You might even want to celebrate. So often, people launch right into the next project without taking sufficient time to appreciate what’s been accomplished. If you have worked for a long time on something, take a proportionate break upon completion. You will be setting yourself up for success on the next project. A little rejuvenation goes a long way.

This is a pretty simple formula but I think it succinctly summarizes a sound method for approaching just about anything you might attempt to do at the office, at home or elsewhere.

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