#003 Prioritize

It means – determining the order for dealing with things.

Imagine you are cooking a dish. Its a stir fry of onion and chick peas with some spices. You can’t straight away keep the pan and start pouring the oil for the stir fry. Hold on, there is a order of dealing with things before the end product is ready. First you need to soak the chick peas 3 hours before you boil it in steam. Then cut the onions, chilli, coriander, etc. The start the stir fry process.

Now imagine working in office. You have a main task and start working on it. In between you get an Adhoc task. Now you need to prioritize which task is more important and work on that. A clear mind with a good focus will help you achieve that. If you start working on both the tasks in parallel (multi-tasking), then you might sometimes end up not completing both the tasks.

Some tasks might be dependent on an input from others and they might be busy. You need not wait for them, park the task aside and pick it up later when you have completed one or more other tasks. Most of the times we end up waiting for others input and not doing anything for a long time and end up rushing at the end of the day. Remember, your priority need not be of the same priority to others.

You and only you can determine the priority of the tasks at your hand. Act accordingly and achieve the same. One of the important steps in prioritizing and focussing is learning to say “No”.

#002 Focus

The most difficult thing for most of the people is Focus. How to focus? before that lets have a look at our mind.

The mind is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to mankind. Of course every animal has a brain, but the mind is what separates us from the animals. The cognitive skills gives us the edge over the rest of the animals in this planet. The mind is capable of receiving input from multiple sources, analyse it and take a necessary course of action.

Now if you have closely noticed I have mentioned ‘multiple sources’. There lies the problem. Explaining with an example – if you are talking on a phone while driving a car, the mind does one task consciously and the other one sub-consciously based on a previous experience. you might think you have saved some time by doing two tasks in parallel, but in reality your focus was diverted on two tasks. If either one of tasks required more priority our mind would automatically switch over. If the switch over was to driving, its fine. What will happen if the switch over was to the mobile phone over an engaging conversation? You would have lost focus on the road and who knows what might have happened.

We should discipline our mind to do only one task at a time, I would say. This ensures that your focus in on one task and one task only. In my opinion not all people can multi-task.

Doing one task at a time, helps you focus. We should learn to say no to other sources of input unless its a priority.

#001 The first step is always the hardest

Nothing good comes after 10.30 PM. The more time you stay up after 10.30 PM, the more tired you become the next day.

Proper sleep is essential for a sound body and mind. Imagine running your vehicle continuously for 12 hours from morning 9.00 AM, it would have become very hot by 9.00 PM. Now try running it continuously for another 3-4 hours, I think the coolant would fail and the engine might have become too hot. You might have to stop for a while before you continue your journey further. The same is the case with your body, especially your brain. With your brain staying awake, it is creating new bits of information every second. Some of them get saved and some don’t. The whole process makes the brain tired. Hence a sound sleep is necessary to rejuvenate the body and prepare it for the next day.

Once you have slept early, the next part is getting up early. If you are not accustomed to getting up early, it might take a week for your body to get accustomed to this new cycle and wake up early. Don’t lose faith, it will happen eventually.

Sleep is the first step towards getting more time. The more time you sleep (by sleeping early), the more time you get the next day. Don’t believe me, do this routine for two weeks and notice the difference. But please do not break the chain as it takes time to get back on track. Your brain becomes more productive and does trivial tasks is a very small amount of time, which otherwise for your tired brain would have taken more amount of time.

Our body is designed to work from sunrise to sunset. If it is any different, please find a way to change it and see the difference.