Some of the best lessons that I have imbibed, is from my daughter Dhriti. She is 8 years old, shy and curious. If I were to relate her to a character in Tom and Jerry, she would be the Rainbow dash, from My Little Pony, because she doesn’t like Tom & Jerry comparatively; she is more comfortable with the choices that she understands. She is very specific with questions. Short, crisp, which only get complimented with equally specific answers. If she found my answer vague, there would be more questions, until she is satisfied. If I devoid her of attention, she has ways to end my distraction. Believe me, you wouldn’t like her to ask questions. Like other kids, she is very persistent.
The following incidence happened just before she left to Hong Kong to see her new born cousin sister, Raina. She was mighty excited and had prepared an elaborate shopping list, which was seeking closure.
Dhriti: Dada, when are we going to buy the gifts for Raina?
Me: Sometime, when Mamma and I are relatively free.
Dhriti: When will you and Mamma be free?
Me: Weekend is more likely to be a free time for us. Thursday too, if I have time.
Dhriti: So, when will we go?
Me: We will go on Friday.
Dhriti: When on Friday?
Me: We will go at 11.30, so that we can have lunch outside.
Dhriti doesn’t take answers that leave her guessing, she needs to have a specific date and time confirmed to her. How easy and simple way to manage activities.
But our actual life is different. When I reflect back on few business conversations, I find many lose ends. There are sometimes no specifics, when or where. This defines the difference between intending to do something and actually doing it. When we put the task on paper (by writing it down) and marking it on the calendar, we increase the likelihood of completing the task. The converse is also true. The days I found empty and found that I have accomplished little, that was the day, when I didn’t plan enough for the day. The task and goals were not on my calendar.
It is a very simple exercise and it works.
There was a research done with a two groups of people; this was a group of people who were trying to get rid of a negative habit. The first group was told to write an essay every 6 PM for next 60 days on a certain day. The second group was given a choice – they could write the essay either before 6 PM or after 6 PM with no specifics. Which group do you think faired well. 75% of the first group was able to write essays, where as none of the first group wrote. When we schedule time, we commit to ourselves the goal of completing it.
If we give ourselves, vague instructions, we will get vague results.
In my earlier post, Predawn, I emphasized the need for a good start of the day. The day starts with meditation, with specific goals that one would need to achieve. In order to further build on it, these goals would need to be written down in a journal in terms of days, weeks/months & year. In addition, they would need to be reviewed daily. I do that in the evening, with my night audit, the purpose of this 66 day exercise. (More about that in my next post.) Just these two acts of writing the points and reviewing them, has the power of changing your perspective and therefore, life.
My good friend, Deepak, further elaborated my point. He said,
When you write it down, you have already accomplished the task or your goal. When you put in the calendar (define timelines), you will get the answer, when.
Therefore make no commitments which you cannot fulfill. When you do, write it down and ensure that it is marked on your calendar.
It is the simplest life changing technique.
Photo & layout courtesy: canva.com