This is one of my go-questions when I feel I’m becoming too tactical. In my own business I am very much committed to the long game, to a vision of the type of work I would like to be doing in a decade or two and of the value I can bring (and create). This then informs what I focus on in the short-term. In fact, each day is planned to make some contribution to that larger vision.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t do work today that will be forgotten in a year – the nuts and bolts of running any business quickly fade from memory – but I am continually switching timeframes to get a sense for how what I’m doing today might fit into a larger narrative. Do I have the right processes in place? In short, are the results I would like to see aligned with the habits I am following each day?

Playing with timescales thus allows you to create a vision (set a goal if you like) in one timescale and then focus on process in the shorter ones (habits, routines, rituals). This can reduce the decisions you have to make on a daily basis while ensuring you make progress on what is important for you. I actually explore this in more detail in Episode 2 of my Time Academy Podcast.

Questions in the Image:

  • What timescale am I playing at?
  • What do I want to accomplish: i) This month? ii) This year? iii) This decade?
  • Where do I spend most of my thinking?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (link to This book emphasizes the importance of focusing on what truly matters in order to achieve meaningful results across your world. It provides actionable advice on how to eliminate distractions and prioritize tasks that align with your long-term vision.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – a beeping lorry in the distance is asking What do you need to look out for in your life? Where are the dangers ahead? What about the ones you cannot see or hear? Being heavily influenced by Zen thought, I can personally thank these questions for appearing and let go of worry, whilst at the same time reflecting on where I might benefit from paying more attention in my life: What might I be ignoring that is becoming a problem?

About Tom O’Leary

My mission is to help others think differently – meaning more broadly and deeply – and thereby make better decisions. The key to thinking differently lies in our curiosity.

The more we question, the more possible answers we uncover, and the more we expand what we thought possible. Life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential.

And yet, in a culture obsessed with efficiency and productivity, the paradox is that much energy and resources are wasted by a bias towards action over contemplation. If you are answering the wrong question, it doesn’t matter how ‘hard’ you work, you are still answering the wrong question.

That is why I am a big advocate of nurturing curiosity and innovative thinking at all ages, particularly amongst leaders because of the impact they have on us all. In my vision, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are curious, open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning.

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