The Now/Next Rule

Nov 04, 2019

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed.

Keep it raised if you feel overwhelmed now.

And if you can’t raise your hand because you’re juggling too many things, I get it.

No matter what you do for work, there’s always so much, right? Gotta do this, gotta do that, gotta do that other thing. And all the other things waiting behind it.

The solution? The Now/Next Rule.

It’s a tool I learned when I cooked professionally many years ago and I’ve used it ever since. Restaurant kitchens are fast-paced and action-packed. There’s fire and knives and at times it feels like warfare. You’re moving constantly and there’s little space to think. What helped me survive was hearing a chef say “I only think of two things when I’m cooking: What am I doing now? What am I doing next?”

That’s it. Just two things at any one time.

What am I doing now?
What am I doing next?

I don’t cook professionally any longer, but I still use this technique. When I feel overwhelmed with what I’m doing, I pause and say “What am I doing now? What am I doing next?”

Instantly, I calm down. That pause gives me clarity to keep going without absolutely losing my mind.

Creating order on this micro level releases the pressure we feel at this red hot moment. It gives us the structure we need to move forward in confidence.

The micro level is only a small part of the success equation. First, you want to make sure that you’re getting it right at the macro level.

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