Moments in daily life are not only important, they define how we evolve as better individuals, our relationship with ourselves and our relationship with people.
Today I write about 6 things in my learning, as how we can think better and that in itself is enabled by better managing of time.
As we grow from a child to an adult, our curiosity levels change. We tend to move from raw curiosity to calculated curiosity. We only ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ when absolutely necessary, maybe due to various fears that we build during our life journey. The best part about children is that they do not fear asking questions and that in itself is a key aspect of strength. Schools imbibe us to have or find answers, however, it is equally important (if not more) to ask questions and that itself takes courage. Having spent considerable time in marketing & advertising I realize that to decode briefs, it takes significant effort to think through the questions that helps one to shape up the solution by asking deeper questions.
Early in my career, I used to ponder about ‘how much planning is good planning and how much time should I invest in planning for something’? What I gradually built as a practice, helped me to have super Mondays (rather than Monday Blues) and helped me stay at same level of energy through the week. I simply started investing 3 hours every weekend for planning my week ahead. I usually pick either Saturday or Sunday afternoons. Here I bifurcate my task list into 3 parts – Urgent, Important and Potentially Critical. Then I run a scrutiny of the people I need to work with to accomplish those tasks priority wise. In tandem I also see if any buffer day could be bought from the respective client for any task that may be need additional effort from multiple people within a team. This is also a key as most tasks are a team work, hence I also think through managing expectations of internal and external stakeholders. Though a thumb rule I follow is – Undercomit and Over-deliver. Also, once a commitment is made, sticking to that come what may. Underlying factor is respecting deadlines. Also, coming to terms that not all deadlines will be in our favour. Certain deadlines need working backwards against time.
Cant accentuate this enough. We all have 24 hours. What we do in those 24 hours and how we perceive and manage our day, is something that no coaching can help. It is to do with efforts towards building better habits while not compromising on one’s health. The combination of healthy mind, body and soul helps with clarity of thought and faster decision making. It is entirely up to an individual to have Monday Blues or not. For me, Mondays are the best week days and I have conditioned my brain to make me feel that way over a period of time vis self-actualization.
Whenever I interview candidates, I always ask this question – ‘What is your aspiration’ and I have come to realize that this is perhaps a difficult question to answer as in daily life we tend to cease thinking about our Ikigai and our aspiration. My hack to this is to transcend thinking beyond material aspects as those are the regular things we would think. I still keep asking myself this question from time to time and find my aspiration correlating it to – ‘Hey Ankoor – You need to do these 3 things on a daily basis to accomplish your aspiration’ . And so, it helps me with clarity of thought that what all action steps I need to take consistently to fulfil my aspiration.
However, we may not want or want, it is imperative to work with different people & teams. I look at the positive side that everyone thinks differently with different ways to approach. However, the key task of a leader is pivotal in joining all threads and aligning it to the larger vision or objective and ensuring one of the most clichéd aspect of ‘everyone being on the same page’ and understand that there is no shortcut to respecting deadlines and no shortcut to keeping up to commitments. To enable that, having clarity of thought is the key and that in turn is a factor of managing time better . A good leader needs to managing his/her ow n time first before getting into helping others accomplish the same.
Time is not a Luxury
Time has the potential to bring in luxury but time in itself is not a luxury. There is one thing about school that I feel that we must imbibe in our daily lives. It is called ‘Time Table’. Just having a calendar or blocking calendars does not mean anything unless there are actionable items that are accomplished and measured consistently. And the best part is, that does not need much effort, that needs INTENT. Initially, inculcating any habit takes some time; once that habit is induced, it becomes effortless and part of daily lives contributing to Dopamine and Serotonin.
If we practice these, then there will be no need to race, just keep walking.