Who? What? Why? Where? When? How? There was a time, when newspapers were popular, common, and influential. Reporters worked very diligently to get news and information, to get it first, to present it best. Accuracy and thoroughness were necessities. To get the information they would use the six questions above as an outline or a guide for asking for information. They would jot the answers in a pocket-sized notebook. The reporters’ notebook and the reporters’ questions were valuable tools to help them get the job done. At Authentic Life Concepts, we are re-purposing these questions for the benefit of anyone in any profession or activity. These six questions, used in varying proportions, can help you structure and organize almost anything.
For instance, let me answer those questions about this blog.
Who? You, of course. Since you are still reading:
– you are curious about this antique tool, or
– you recognize that there is something you must plan for which these questions could be helpful, or
-you see the possibilities for this approach to help you organize a quantity of data, or
– your own unique circumstances
The fact is that so much of what we do is with people, about people, or for people. Who are they? As individuals? As a class? As the subject of our attention? Answers to this question can affect and improve the way we interact with them.
What? What purpose do you have in the current activity with these people? It’s fascinating how our interactions with people can follow patterns we’ve developed and are comfortable with, without adjustment for the purpose. Not all interactions look the same, nor accomplish what we intend. Knowing the “what” can make a huge difference in your effectiveness.
– be clear with others what you are needing
– avoid wasted time and energy chasing white rabbits
– invest the newfound time and energy into the next important thing
– which, by the way is “what?”
Why? Why are you doing this thing with these people? Why you? Why this? Why these people? The fact is that at the end of the day, there will be things left undone. At the end of this day, at the end of every day, at the end of your last day, things will be left undone – important things. Why are you doing this current thing? There may be a compelling reason, but otherwise you want to be doing this thing because it is the most important and impactful thing you can be doing right now to accomplish what really matters to you.
– it’ the law
– I signed a contract
– it’s part of a role and responsibility I have accepted
– it’s the most impactful thing I can do right now to promote my objectives
Where? Where an activity or interaction takes place might not matter that much. But it might. The context or surroundings of an action or interaction is a part of the experience. Since what you are doing is important, create the best set of circumstances you can for all to go well.
– the person I’m with cannot hear well in a noisy environment
– this is a private and sensitive conversation
– this location is way out of the way
– we both love this scenic view
When? Like “where,” when might not be that important. But it might be. The circumstance of time, just like that of space, can contribute greatly to the effectiveness of your efforts. If you are undertaking something important and demanding, but you are at the end of a stressful day, that might not be a good time. At Authentic Life Concepts we teach the “Danger Zone.” There are situational things that can be true about you at a given time that decrease your energy, judgment, and focus, while increasing your stress, error rate, and pleasant demeanor. When in the danger zone, you might reschedule or be very intentional.
– I’m sleep deprived
– I was just hit with divorce proceedings
– I’m under the influence
– I hate this particular project
How? You are going to know “how” to do most of the things that you undertake. If you are doing something new that makes you nervous, you may be in the “danger zone” (see “when” above). Even when you are a veteran at the thing you are doing this moment, you create a better set of circumstances for yourself by thinking about the outcome you are seeking. With this vision in place, review the things you will do to make that vision a reality. Focus. Proceed. Succeed.
Use these six questions to structure and organize almost anything. Contact Authentic Life Concepts for more information. Enroll in all three of our seminars at our website:
LIFE STRUCTURING, VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THE STAIRCASE, AND TAME THE CHAOS.