From the perspective of identifying a tool set for yourself, I recommend looking top-down as well.
What's a top-down strategy?
I'm sure there can be many top-down strategies, but for myself and in work literacy workshops I use a particular top-down strategy. It starts by looking at your key knowledge work:
- Small Business Owner
- Acting CTO
- Community organizer
- Expert / Speaker / Writer
- Client Advisor
- Family Vacation Planner
- Fine Dining Planner
- Design and Conduct Workshops
- New product design
- Online workshop
- eLearning Learning product design
- Staying up-to-speed on eLearning 2.0
- Spring break plans
For each role and project, I ask myself:
- What are the key tasks?
- What methods and tools do I use for that task?
- What information do I regularly consume?
- What do I regularly produce?
- What sometimes goes wrong or seems harder than it should be? (Problems)
- Where do I believe I could have opportunity for improvement? (Opportunities)
- Scan - Staying up-to-speed on a topic.
- Find - Includes Evaluate, Narrow / Adjust
- Keep / Organize / Refind / Remind
- Leverage / Present
Based on having done this exercise formally or informally with quite a few people, I can almost guarantee that you will have a few aha moments. Many times it is simply because you force yourself to ask the question - is there a better way to handle this situation.
This also sets you up for aha moments as you encounter information along the way. Any information source that was not in your list should be questioned. If it wasn't on your list, is it just entertainment? Or is there an additional role or project that I should have thought about? Maybe I should get out of the way of this information source?
A really great exercise is to go through this with a peer or as part of a workshop ... hint :) ...
Spend some time to do this reflection, it's well worth it.
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