THREE MINUTES OF INCREMENTAL CHANGE MOVES MOUNTAINS
Friday Jan. 13, 2017
What incremental change can you make?
I know – you’re glad I asked …
Incremental change, a phrase with an important concept at its core, far greater than we expect – overlooked and underestimated – this often ignored word.
Incremental. Incremental. Incremental.
When earth’s crust shifts plates creating fault lines, mountains rising from plains or sea floors – tiny increments every day over billions of years add up.
Think of a child – growing from egg and sperm to whole person in under a year …
OK, nine months plus 25 years … but you get my meaning.
Somewhere between gestation period of a child and mountain building we will find our daily challenges; will we need a billion years of incremental change, or just a few months, to fix them?
Resolutions made hastily and cast aside already are wasted energy – yet provide incremental change for fitness clubs, diet book publishers and a thousand other merchants who count on them every year as so many people say they are committing to change when they are really doing little beyond the social convention of naming something they know can change but which they/we/I are unwilling to commit to changing. I’m not making much better progress than anyone else on things like diet, exercise and sleep – but I am making little bits of progress. I won’t be bragging for a while yet but my confidence is feeling stronger this year.
Why is that?
Well, thanks for asking – I’m happy to tell you why. Or is it how?
I use a calendaring tool in my work/life/schedule in addition to a paper calendar. This tool, ACT, is one I’ve been using for nearly 25 years now – I just buy the upgrade every few years. It has many features I’ve never even explored because it was designed as a tool for sales people, predicated on a different philosophy of selling than I use today … but that’s another story.
What it allows me to do is to schedule any activity I want – as often as I want, and to move it around within a day’s task list or from day to day … it’s really cool. I’ve always loved it because I never lost track of anything. Not true, but it felt that way. One thing I did that felt ridiculous was a little data-maintenance task. I set it up as a 30 minute task to repeat daily. And there it was, mid-morning, every day. And every day I would delete it. After a year of deleting it every day I felt foolish. After two years, you might say I was too embarrassed to think I could ever explain it. Because that would bring into play explaining so many other things that were on my daily calendar that didn’t get done, or done often, or done at all. So, these feelings of stupidity have recurred. No more. I’ve found the cure. I’ve moved it to first thing in the morning – it’s on my calendar for 6AM. There are some days I just delete it, knowing it will show up again on tomorrow’s list – but I made a change that works. It is more specific. It tells me to ‘fix/delete at least 10’. I made this change in November. Since then I’ve probably missed a couple of days. My database is cleaning up – so far about 60 X 10 … with about 13,000 files left to go. But that scrubbing has produced ‘reconnecting’ with a lot of people, has taken no more than 3 minutes a day out of my morning. I’m not building mountains or volcanos here – but it won’t take a billion years either. A tiny change – a little twist, has made me better. Not lighter, thinner or more fit – but changed absolutely.
This is one – of several, changes I’ve made recently. Do I do them all every day without fail? Gosh no … but I don’t think I’ve failed because I haven’t finished yet …
If you liked any Musing column, it would mean a lot to me if you would respond. Comments are welcome, so please contribute to the discussion. To reply, use: email@example.com . You can also connect with me on LinkedIn . You can sign up your friends here at MarkMusing.com . This site is updated daily, each column is retained in the archive when the next day's column is loaded ...