Syrio Forel and Not Today

In the first season of Game of Thrones, we were introduced to a very likable swordsman and teacher called Syrio Forel. His trademark phrase echoed his belief that the warrior within him said only one thing to death – “Not today.”

I was reflecting on the power of that phrase recently – especially at the end of a long day. It is often tempting to try and cram in as much as possible into those ten minutes or that last meeting.

But, often, in this quest for efficiency, we lose our ability to be patient and engage constructively with problems – especially those that deserve dedicated bandwidth and time. I’ve certainly been guilty of that.

The wisest thing we can do in these times is to become aware enough to catch ourselves from packing too much in and, instead, say “Not today.”

Hacking shopping – and productivity

The best way to save money while shopping doesn’t involve scouring every coupon deal available and then using all or most of them. It doesn’t matter how efficient we are in the coupon use process. It just turns out that the best way to save money while shopping is to buy the few things that we actually need.

Productivity isn’t any different. The most powerful productivity hack we have at our disposal is the choice to be thoughtful and clear about what we decide to spend our time on. Hacking things we shouldn’t be doing isn’t helpful.

Or, as Peter Drucker masterfully put it –“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” 

Choosing what we do is a more important decision than how we do it. Effectiveness > Efficiency.