Yesterday’s Dialogue gave me a massive breakthrough day. I am so grateful!
- After my nap, I got up and said a Hard No to going back to bed, but instead a Hard Yes to prioritising getting things done using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results).
- I wrote down my Objective for the day on a blank sheet of paper:‘To be relaxed, rested and ready to welcome our weekend guests this evening.’
- Then I wrote down the 3 Key Results which would ensure I met my day’s Objective:
- HOUSE READY: The bed is made, the cooking is done and the house is clean by 7pm. (A Hard No to a last minute panic about the house.)
- COMMS CURRENT: I have communicated the important things I need to communicate ahead of next week (thank yous, docs out, photos ordered) by 2pm. (A Hard No to carrying around guilt about not thanking people.)
- BODY RESTED: I have both moved my body for 30mins+ and napped it 30mins+ for by 5pm (A Hard No to making my body take the strain.)
- Then I mind-mapped the individual actionable tasks around the three KRs.
- Then I worked through tasks one by one and – here’s the main breakthrough – set a timer on my FitBit just to see with curiosity how long each task took. The main power of being ‘on the clock’ was that I kept ‘on task’ – a) because I knew I was timing ONE task (no multi-tasking, thank you), and b) because I was interested in it being COMPLETE as that would be marked by stopping the timer. The executive-functioning part of my brain leapt up and gave me a high five: ‘ONE Task at a time, with a clear COMPLETION moment…. followed by a little breakito before the Next Task?! Yes please! ‘ Also, it gave me a way of not being off-tasked by my self or by G – he v quickly got alongside the idea of my being ‘on the clock’ and supported me in finishing my task and not diverting my attention til it was done. Powerful for us both as I could basically assert a ‘Hard No’ on any diversion from my Task until the priority was met, without it being personal or upsetting for either of us…
- At the end of the day – which was super-productive – I added together all the minutes on each task. There had been 16 Tasks:
- HOUSE READY: I completed 4/6 Tasks (and G did 2 of them!) in 87mins
- COMMS CURRENT: Of 7 Tasks I completed 2 and started 1, in 171mins
- BODY RESTED: I completed 3/3 Tasks in 113 mins
- I worked out that the Tasking span had been 10am – 7.30pm = 9h30. My Tasking added up to 371 minutes = 6h18. (Wow – 6+hours ‘on task’ is fantastic!) So basically, 2/3 of the time I was On Task. That’s a really helpful statistic to know. For me, task switching has been so hard always – see the Tendril Theory… But this helps me build in the knowledge that if I have about 4 hours of Tasks, I need a 6 hour window. Mind-blowingly helpful data!
- Did I meet my Objective? YES! I felt relaxed, rested and ready to welcome our weekend guests that evening.
I am excited about this concept of PRIORITISING as the key to the Art of Saying No. (Thanks Mina Radhakrishnan!)
‘You are knowing what you are wanting?’
Yes! Largely by knowing and owning what I am NOT wanting!
‘Sorting and sifting?’
Exactly. And applying actual filtering, instead of being a ‘Soft Yes’ Bucket.
I’ve just had a further rootle on OKRs – there’s another term to use: To meet your Objective (and gain those Key Results) you use INITIATIVES (projects under which you have a set of Tasks). It’s a way of bunching up Tasks under set umbrellas. Cool.
I love that you can use this for a day, week, month, quarter, year… And it all comes down to doing Tasks you can start and stop a timer on – One Task at a Time. (Let’s call it OTAAT). And completing a task, because you know where it fits in your own prioritisation, is the key to the Hard No. Also, you can set OKRs as a team, or couple, or family…. and all support the Hard No/Hard Yes decisions about use of our precious time and energy.
Sounds like things could become less stressful.
Indeed. <3 Ty. I shall work with these phrases to self:
- “No, that is not my priority.”
- “To meet my priorities today, I will have to say Hard Noes to…”
-75- Why are the people starving? Because their leaders eat up too much of the tax-grain; that is why the people are starving. Why are the people difficult to govern? Because their leaders interfere; that is why the people are difficult to govern. Why do the people treat death lightly? Because their leaders are so grossly absorbed in the pursuit of living; that is why the people treat death lightly. Indeed, it is wiser to ignore life altogether than to place too high a value on it. (The Tao Te Ching 75)
Lao Tzu suggests that while life should be honoured, we shouldn’t be grossly absorbed in the pursuit of living. He seems to suggest a certain indifference to life, or detachment maybe. In many ways, this chapter perfectly describes the difference of approach between my Head (‘leader’) and my Heart (‘people’). The Head takes too much tax from the Heart; the Head interferes with the autonomy of the Heart; the Head over-pursues ‘life’ in a way that the Heart cannot recommend. The result? The Heart starves, is difficult to govern and treats death/life lightly… (How do I experience all that?: at worst, depression/anxiety etc; more commonly now: overweight, stress, befuddlement, guilt, soft yesses…)
How can I step down Head’s crazed oligarchy?
By making the clever Head the servant of the wise Heart.
Your OKRs are perfect fodder to the Head. Let the Heart set the Vision that determines the Objectives.
So my Heart says: let’s be calm, let’s work with peace, unity, love and light…
And therefore how can the Head serve that vision today?
Heart’s Objective: Reach M. class at 7pm with a feeling of… calm empowerment
Why calm empowerment? Because it’s sick of feeling like the slave to the unruly ruler…? Because that is how it gets into the state of being able to prioritise at all?
Calm Empowerment is ‘at ease and yet it follows a plan’.
Aha. Exactly. Onwards….
Head’s Key Results (slash Initiatives because it’s small scale timescales):
- Sunday Lunch a happy time (Hard No to: stress!)Prep the food
- Lay the table
- Body exercised (Hard No to: punishing the body!)Go for a walk
- Do some stretches
- Christmas preps closer (Hard No to: letting it all build up!)Edit the photos in photo album
- Start spreadsheet
- Messenger messages cleared
- Our guests feeling loved and cherished (Hard No to: getting carried away with Must Does)Do a lovely breakfast
- Be ready to leave at 5.30pm
Better go and do a breakfast!
I am prioritising my heart’s objective of attaining a feeling of calm empowerment