Do you ever find yourself struggling to do what you want to do? Do you regularly fail to honor commitments to yourself? Do you frequently second guess yourself or decide when the designated writing, grading, editing, recording, you-name-it time arrives, the time is actually better suited for something else? 

If so, try this Double D approach, which separates any project into two modes—deciding and doing. 

Imagine deciding and doing as distinctly different modes of action taken by a Decider and a Doer. The Decider and Doer could be different people but that is NOT necessary. 

You can perform BOTH roles but at different times. You will discover the Double D approach works best when:

  • Decider and Doer roles remain distinct
  • Decider and Doer TRUST the other to do the assigned job
  • Roles are performed alternately—Decider-Doer-Decider-Doer . . . 

 

Decider at his desk planning

Decider needs dreaming, thinking, and reflection time.

 Decider’s Job:

Do all the advanced planning and preparation work for the Doer!

  • Brainstorm to uncover the scope and component parts of the project
  • Create lists and notes to aid the Doer
  • Compile a list of resources, tools, materials, and/or people the Doer will need to have or consult
  • Arrange the identified parts into some order that makes sense to the Doer
  • Choose a block of time for the Doer to work
  • Place that information in a calendar
  • Set alerts for the Doer
  • Flag the first task for the Doer to begin with.

 

architect executing his plans

Doer executes the Decider’s plan and provides feedback to accelerate the Decider’s learning.

 The Decider is not all knowing.

Early efforts will include missing parts, incomplete lists & notes & resources. The Decider often estimates. The Decider depends on feedback from the Doer. After each session, the Doer’s feedback will assist the Decider in refining the process, improving the time estimates, expanding and clarifying the project parts, and improving the order of execution.

Doer’s Job: Direct and Simple

Brickmason delighted with his work--brick wall

Doing creates less resistance when the Doer accepts the Decider’s plans

Execute the Decider’s plan.

  • Executing may require significant skill but it does not involve deciding what to do, deciding what steps are needed, deciding when to do each step, deciding what order of execution is ideal or deciding when to start. The Decider did all of this ahead of time and provided it for the Doer. The Decider made visible the parts or steps, the order, the timeframe, and the start date and time
  •  Trust the Decider and follow the plan even if significant doubts surface. The Doer will have many opportunities to educate and help the Decider improve.
  • Create feedback for the Decider. What did you do? What worked well and what did not? What resources, materials, people, and/or knowledge is needed for the next round?

Decider’s Temptations:

  • Take shortcuts, get distracted while brainstorming or seeking resources, and not write things down. The Decider may greatly overestimate or underestimate the times needed for each step, completely guess at the order of the steps, choose random, rather than carefully considered, times for the Doer to start. These are all OK! It is FAR better for the Decider to yield to these temptations rather than to do nothing.
  • Do nothing or expect the Doer to also be the Decider. That is unacceptable! After the initial session, the Decider will need to take the Doer’s feedback, refine each stage of the plan, provide the Doer with all the updates and flag the first next task for the Doer’s next session.

Bricklayer decides to drink on the job while doubting the boss's plans.

Doer’s Temptations–Doubt and Ignore!

Doer’s Temptations

Doubt the Decider, declare the plan wrong, and complain that it could be more efficient, more complete, and certainly more helpful. The Doer may hate the start date and time while imagining such better things to do at this time.

Ignore the plans. But the Doer is not the Decider and must instead use all strategies necessary to execute the plan.

Skip the feedback. The time and place for complaining and improving is with the feedback notes. These are ESSENTIAL for the Decider to make progress.

Building integrity with yourself comes from consistently doing what you decide to do. Make the challenge easier by deciding ahead of time. Create time, even small amounts of it, for planning and deciding what’s next. Choose a date, time, and first task. When the date and time arrive DO the first task! Take note of what worked, what didn’t, and what you learned during the working session. Then refine your next plans accordingly.

The Double D approach simply makes it tangible, visible, and fun!

Illustrations: Cheryl Zafra Hudson  

Michał Grosicki