Monday, January 1, 2018

Slow and Steady

Everyone might have heard the story of the hare and tortoise. The story goes like this - A hare and a tortoise have a race. Hare starts fast initially and after going a certain distance, looks back and sees tortoise way behind. So it decides to take a break and rest. Meanwhile the tortoise starts slowly and steadily walks to the finish line. By the time the hare wakes up the tortoise is almost at the finish line and you can expect that tortoise wins the race while hare tries to catch up.

There is a profound truth here. It is not the fast one who wins but the person who is more steady who has the momentum. So what is your goal and how are you going to make sure you are making steady progress towards it ? These are some ways that I found helpful.

1. Make time: The best way to make steady progress is to schedule specific time for the work. Daily is better but if doesn't work any recurring time is best.
2. Make a chain: Make a big X mark on the date you've really done the work. And don't allow the chain to break.
3. Never miss twice: Inevitably in life, some time will come when you haven broken the chain. Don't despair and don't let that stop you. The trick is to start as soon as possible and at the next scheduled date. The rule should be that you never miss it twice. During my childhood, my guru told me this in telugu - ద్వితీయ విఘ్నము పనికిరాదు . i.e Second interruption is not good. I didn't realize the importance of that then - I was thinking what if we miss the second time, we could start it on the third day. But it has now been abundantly clear that the activation energy to start it on the third day is much higher and it is easier to just quit but restarting it on the second day is so much easier. So mind the second interruptions.
4. Make your environment. Design your environment to support the task you're working on. Minimize the interruptions to the work and make sure it is easier to do the task than doing something else. So turn off notifications and if possible break the internet and just focus on the task at hand.
5. Enjoy the work. This is something I've noticed recently. When there is a rush to complete a task, it can look like a chore instead of something that I enjoy. So instead of making a mad dash on every task, I try to go slow and really try to appreciate why I'm doing it and giving myself a chance to do a great job on it. This will also help in continuing the chain as I'm getting pleasure out of the job and the brain will get addicted to it.

Wish you a happy, productive and guilt free new year 2018. May you reach all your goals slowly and steadily. I've enjoyed writing this blog post and will continue my slow and steady progress by making a X every monday on this blog!

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