What matters most

A key part of having good judgment is understanding what matters most.

The things that matter most yield the highest value. Focusing on these things allows you to reach your goal faster, increase your impact, or consume fewer resources. 

Understanding what matters most is useful because often we are constrained by a specific resource: time, money, team, etc.

I’ve also noticed that what matters most changes depending on the situation. For example, even for the same project, what matters most changes depending on its stage.

I found this concept useful in multiple situations:

  • When programming, I often go through iterations of “Make it work, make it right, make it fast.” Each iteration focuses on a single thing so I can make progress. Each iteration focuses on a different aspect of programming.
  • Different engineering teams have different needs. Therefore, they need different solutions. Approaches that work at Google, which has thousands of engineers, may not be appropriate for teams with a couple of engineers.
  • A startup’s first priority is product-market fit. Scaling comes later.
  • When starting a blog, the priority is writing more (i.e., quantity). After the blog is established, the priority shifts to other matters like quality, SEO, etc.

Understanding what matters most ensures you work on the right things at the right time. This is a high-leverage activity.

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