Note to readers: Hello world is a program developers run to check if a newly installed programming language is working alright. Startups and tech companies are continuously launching new software to run the real world. This column will attempt to be the "Hello World" for the real world.
A lot of people complain that they don’t have enough time to keep up with all the new things that are coming at us. And then when they lose jobs or find their companies redundant, they blame technology. If this is not an excuse, and you really feel like you need more time to do things, it could be because you’re getting overwhelmed with new things and are constantly struggling to keep up.
In this column, I’ve previously talked about how you can shut out noise (mostly from social media). Shutting out noise is important for you to be able to do focused work. I’ve also talked about how one should be deliberate about their information diet. Just like junk food, informational junk is everywhere. Too much junk will make you unhealthy. There’s another technique that helps.
One of the most effective ways to deal with being ‘time poor’ is to get ahead of the trends. But doesn’t that add to uncertainty and more anxiety and even less time? Is it even possible to anticipate trends given the times we live in?
By getting ahead of trends, I don’t mean that you have to try and predict the future. That’s nearly impossible. What I mean to say is that you could be geared for whatever comes your way. Scholar NN Taleb talks about this as becoming antifragile. The antifragile not only survive chaos but get better in chaos and disruption.
See The Big Picture
To that end, one thing we can do is to understand the status quo really well. This helps see changes and understand changes faster than most people and be ready before something actually becomes a trend. Since you understand the status quo really well, you will immediately be able to spot anything out of the ordinary.
Once you have a firm grip on the status quo, everything that’s above or below it is new. Or is worthy of attention. If you find it interesting, it’s good to dig deeper. By the time the rest of the world catches up with you, you’ll already be ahead and ready to make a move. This means you can now set the agenda and not follow the agenda. This eventually leads to more time on your hands as others catch up and you leap forward.
So how does one understand the status quo? Ideally, start from the basics. Say you are new to an industry. The best way to understand the status quo is to borrow the journalistic technique of asking: who, what, when, where, and why? For good measure, throw in how.
Keep Pace With Changes
To take a newsroom analogy, most of the time we feel overburdened because we’re following up on a big story someone else has broken. It doesn’t always work but if you manage to break the big story, everyone else will be following you while you are on to the next big story.
It is also always good to plug into the early adopter community. This way, you’re just about ahead of most people and a little behind the early adopters. It has many benefits. By plugging into early adopter communities like Hacker News or Product Hunt, you have a vague idea of the latest technology that’s coming up in your space — sometimes it’s a new app from Hungary that no one has paid attention to or a startup from Memphis that you’d have never otherwise discovered.Disruption is a global enterprise now. And it can happen to any industry or line of work. Get ahead and make yourself antifragile. Or the price is too big to pay.