Critical Path Strategies: How Are You Getting Things Done?

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critical path

Critical Path may be a project management term now, but I believe the phrase and concept was coined by Buckminster Fuller, in his book, The Critical Path (Amazon affiliate link). So what is it? And how does it relate to Occom’s Razor?

In my words, the critical path is the minimum string of events that have to happen in order for a desired result to be achieved. So as you are trying to get the family off to the beach trip, you start dropping some of the ambitious goals as the morning wears into the afternoon and you still have not gotten everyone in the car to go.

And Occom’s Razor, again in my words, is how the simplest answer or path is usually the best or correct path. If my desire is to eat more vegetables this week, I might not need to take a cooking class, I might merely make broccoli, which I already know how to make, every night.

Applying the two concepts has provided me with a significant amount of simplification in my life and work. Here’s a little example of how I work it.

Take your BIG GOALS (these are mine)

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Be healthier.
  3. Spend more time with my kids and significant other.
  4. Play Tennis more often.
  5. Express your love and happiness to those around you.

Start Where You Are Now

  1. Overweight.
  2. Over busy with work. (too much churn and not enough progress)
  3. Divorced and single.
  4. Continue expressing joy and affection frequently and clearly.

Cut the Non-Critical Path Items to Simplify the Path

  1. Eat less.
  2. Work more efficiently.
  3. Spend time cultivating relationships with others.
  4. Eliminate more of what is frustrating and unproductive.

And keep trying, keep simplifying, keep coming back to the question, “Is this a critical path activity?”

Continue returning to “The Path.” Have patience with yourself and your body. Keep coming back. That’s it.

John McElhenney — let’s connect online
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See also:

Please check out a few of my books on AMAZON

Especially this one, about living a creative life of intention and joy. 


this creative life, john oakley mcelhenney