January 26, 2021 – One of my favorite books, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson is so good…when I read it, I was ROCKED by the basic premise:
So easy to do, so easy NOT to do: We are always micro-improving or we are always micro-failing, so we must continually course-correct. And here’s my add-on: WE MUST NOT HARSHLY JUDGE OURSELVES!
I want to tell you about my best friends: my alarms and timers. They complete me.
I am like the General of my Army of Alarms and Timers. I give the commands, and they carry it out for me. It’s beautiful…
When I set them. If I neglect to give the command, to direct the troops, they are idle and just play pool and cards and smoke cigarettes all day. But when they are issued their orders, they are all, “Sir, yes, SIR!!”
I grew up “military adjacent” (I literally just made up that term) meaning that my immediate family was not in the service, moving around at regular intervals, but many of my relatives were. My grandfather was a Rear Admiral in the Navy, my uncle also was career Navy, and his son, my cousin, was a was a Navy seal, another cousin was career Navy, and another cousin was Marine for 25 years! And I deeply thank them all for their service! Why do I tell you this?
Because I know and deeply respect the Chain of Command. I know and respect the comfort that comes with the military’s 100% dedication to respect, form, discipline, and carrying out of duty. We can (and do) count on the military ALWAYS. We need them on that wall. We are secure because of the military.
You, yes YOU, must act as the Commander of your own Army. (Note: your troops are NOT your kids!) (what a fail in the making lol)
Your troops are all the systems you set up to keep you on track, fight distraction, and support your productivity. Your digital calendar. Your alarms. Alexa/Google Home. Your purse/bag. Your systems. Without these things, you are floundering. When they are given proper instructions, that’s when the magic happens!!
Your mind has to be FREE to operate without thinking “is it time to leave yet?” or “is it time to take that thing out of the oven” or “is it time to take my kids to the appointment yet?” or “did I return that call yet?” and on and on. My favorite: “What was I just doing??”
GOOD NEWS: your alarms and timers HAVE YOUR BACK at all times. It’s true!!
But you have to have a relationship with them. They need constant course correcting. They have to be appropriate in the moment. They cannot be abused.
When you swipe/snooze/dismiss an alarm without taking action, then the alarm wasn’t set well. IT’S NOT YOU. You are not a failure because you ignored that alarm. But, taking the next step and either re-setting or deleting that reminder because it isn’t serving you is the way to give the troops their marching orders.
Mobilize your tools! Manage your army of systems. And spoiler: it’s never “set-it-forever”! Things change, you learn things, you adjust and strengthen, 1% better.
The Slight Edge said it well. “There is a natural progression to everything in life: plant, cultivate, harvest.” ― Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness
You are your own garden.
You must seek to uncover your strengths AND your weaknesses and then RALLY the troops to help you! (for me, ADHD is a part of me so I use alarms!)
For now, at the smallest level, simply set some alarms and timers to FREE YOUR MIND.
I have an entire chapter about timers and alarms in my book: The CALM Method: A Guide to Ditch Last Minute Living, so check it out!! What’s it about? I talk about that here. I hope it can help you:)
It helps me EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I want that for YOU!!