Why do I hate planning so much? This week I share how I've reframed "planning" to help me do more of it. Plus I share what I've learnt from the latest book I've been reading: Atomic Habits.
We'll check in next week to see how I'm doing – if you try it out, be sure to let me know!
Actions / take aways
- Set a deadline, a format, and find someone to hold you accountable to your planning.
- Try the 2 minute rule with habits – let me know what you can achieve and I’ll give a shout out next week to anyone who successfully starts adopting a new habit.
Links and further reading
- Atomic habits by James Clear: https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits
- If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/460142-if-you-fail-to-plan-you-are-planning-to-fail
What is Lost and Founder?
Being a startup founder is not all private jets and parties. Truthfully, being a founder is a lonely, difficult, stressful, yet rewarding way to spend your life. James Gill started GoSquared with two friends from school in 2006, and in this podcast he shares his struggles, excitement, and everything in between with refreshing honesty.
Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning into episode six of Lost and Founder.
I can't believe we've been doing this six weeks in a row. It's quite exciting, but we'll say daunting and really appreciated all the feedback so far. For those of you new to the show, Lost and Founder is real life stories each week from yours truly. On the front line, running a software as a service business called GoSquared.
And each week I try to share what's on my mind. What's bothering me what I'm learning and. All of that with the hope that it is useful to at least one or two other people out there. So thanks again for tuning in. Thank you again to everyone who has given me comments and feedback in the last week.
It really keeps pushing me to keep doing these episodes to, to make sure it's as useful as possible. So thanks again, and I can't wait to get into today's show.
The main topic I wants to talk about today is planning. Planning is a word that I often shy away from, or almost have an allergic reaction to planning. Can often have connotations. Of sitting doing. Tasks that don't actually move you forward. And I think in a startup, in a small team often,
Often in my mind, when I think of planning, I think of what planning isn't, which is doing. And I think so much of what you need in a startup and a small team is to be actioning things, to be learning as you go to be. Learning as you do. And one of the best ways to learn is to do things and figure out what works and what doesn't.
And then another critical thing is to be moving quickly and to make sure that you're moving as quickly as possible and to, to. To optimize the speed. But I think over time, I've had a little bit of a. Too strong of a negative feeling towards planning. Of course there is that famous saying a, a F of fair.
Why is it a fail? A failure to plan is a plan to fail. And And I think that's, that's actually not too far from the truth. Funnily enough, that's quite a wise. Is saying. But I think what I wanted to try and share this week was. Why am I thoughts on planning have changed a little bit. And one of the ways I sort of look at planning these days,
And I think a critical thing from my perspective is that. Often in my role. Having been someone who makes things and builds things or design things. Shifting to more of a. A leader manager kind of role I find, I can often find it difficult to end the day and not having anything to show for my work.
You know, if I've spent a whole day thinking about something, coming up with a plan, a strategy ideas for why we can take things forward. Essentially planning. There's often. Not a lot of output to show for that, especially on a. Day by day basis. But I think one of the things I've realized is actually a really good way to.
To, to work towards showing, showing what you've been up to and to also help with the whole planning process. Is to have a goal in mind and something to put together, something to. I mean in the engineering world, we'd call ship. And Really to try and work towards. And an end point for that planning work and, and the reason I think this is earlier that week or Monday,
We did a sort of. Kickoff for the month. So first working day of August. So we did a little bit of a kickoff session. And ahead of that, I spent quite a bit of time. Researching thinking and writing out what I was going to say. I got other team members involved and and we put together thoughts for, for August.
And what I realized was that, and also having spoken to other people. That had to put some work together for that. I think what, what collectively we realized was that. The act of having to do that presentation on Monday morning. It wasn't necessarily that that presentation was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It was more that having to do that presentation on Monday morning in front of the team.
Pushed for a lot of work to happen before it, and by a certain timeframe. And that actually last week, a lot of time was spent. Finding stuff out, finding answers out to questions that, I mean, I should have already had answers to if I'm honest, And it pushed for research and. And crunching of information, crunching of data that otherwise probably wouldn't have happened, or if it had was going to happen, it was going to happen over a much longer timeframe.
And so I think that's just been a big takeaway for me that Maybe, maybe planning. Ain't so bad. But also. Maybe a good way to help. Show that there is an output from that, that planning and that thinking. Time is two to set a goal to. Share something by a certain time. A certain day. In a certain format, whether it's a presentation or a document or something.
It helps focus the mind and think about what you're trying to, trying to do. And I think that can be really helpful. For me, I'm going to take that away because. I think. Next time. I feel like I've got quite a lot of thinking to do, or I need to just need to make a. A new decision on something. I think what I, what I will try to do is set my sights on giving an update to the team in some way on that thing. So maybe it could be a presentation or maybe it could be a.
A written document explaining a decision, but either way. I think if I aim to do that and deliver that, then it's going to push me to do all those other actions that really I would call planning. So, yeah, hopefully that's helpful. It's certainly been a little bit of a. A realization for me this week. And hopefully you can take that in your own.
Days and weeks ahead when you next find you have to plan something.
reading a great book. I'm sure many of you have already read it and probably already learned everything there is to learn from it already. But it's called atomic habits by a chap. James Clear. And I've been taking a lot of value from this book.
It's very easy to read. It's very practical, very kind of action oriented. But it talks about how to build healthy habits and how to try and rid yourself of unhealthy habits. I'm sure. While we all have habits, we would rather not have whether that's waking up too late. Getting in and watching too much TV eating, unhealthy food, drinking an extra glass of wine in the evenings, not getting to the gym, half the list goes on.
And then there's also lots of habits we would love to adopt often the polar opposites of those things waking up earlier. Maybe writing more, maybe. Starting a podcast maybe getting out for a jog. And, and the book essentially talks about how to, how to improve. Your life around building better habits and getting rid of the, the, the ones you would rather not have.
And I felt like I'd been taking away quite a lot from this book, to be honest. And, and I just, I guess I wanted to talk through a few, a few of the things I've, I've learned.
One of the really valuable things I've found was what James clear called the two minute rule. And this was essentially a rule for adopting a new habit and tried to make it easier for yourself. So I've been trying to adopt this myself in the last week or so, and essentially. The idea is that if you're going to adopt some, something new as a habit, so let's call it.
Let's say we want to get up and go for a run in the mornings. When we wake up you could start that habit as I'm sure many of us do with our new year's resolution and say, I'm going to get up and I'm going to run five kilometers every single day. And the chances are you might do that once. You might do that twice.
If you're really strong, you might keep it up for a week. Or two maybe The likelihood is that going from running, not a tool to running every single day of the week for five kilometers is going to be an incredibly, incredibly big step change. Let alone all that we'll have brought up that it's actually going to be good for you.
Fitness wise, health wise, whether you'll be able to handle that. It's a big step change. Similarly, like if you're trying. I don't know, write a blog post or, or maybe even a book. You could say to yourself, I'm going to write a chapter every week, or I'm going to write a thousand words every day and all of those things often that mountain like, and that size.
And I think it's where a lot of people go wrong. I know I've gotten wrong in the past where. You sometimes have this real burst of energy when you're thinking about something like how you want to change your life or how you want to set out your new year's resolutions. And at that time you're maybe not in the right, not in the mindset that you would.
During the days where you're in the thick of it, and you maybe have quite an optimistic mind or you have a lot of energy or a lot of inspiration, or you've had a lot of coffee, but there are always points where you don't to have that energy, that inspiration. And the idea of applying this two minute rule is that in order to adopt a new habit, you focus on something you can do.
And just to. And it might seem silly at first, but whatever that new habit is, you start by just trying to make sure you can do two minutes of it every single day. So rather than trying to run five kilometers every single day, you start by just getting up and putting your gym kit on. Don't go out. We don't even have to go for a run.
You're deemed to go out the door, but just for two minutes, You can put your gym kit on, and that is the stepping stone. It's like the gateway to finally going for that run. But if you can master that habit two minutes every single day for seven days, well then adding enough for two minutes on maybe putting your gym kit on and actually getting out of the door.
Is going to be a lot easier and Hey, then you might've done that for two weeks. And before, you know, it becomes second nature to start getting in gym kit on getting out the door. If you're doing that habitually, then getting out the door and going for a run, feels like the logical next step. And it's an incredibly powerful thing too.
To push you in the right direction to finally adopt those new habits. And I think for me, where I've been trying to employ this I've kind of unknowingly adopted that for maybe about two years now of I don't know why, but at some point I said to myself, I'm going to just try and do 20 press-ups when I wake up in the mornings.
And it's not too much. In fact, no, I think I said I'd try and do 10, but basically over two years now, I I've managed to do just 25 press-ups every morning and 25 press-ups before I go to bed. Right. And it may not have changed just me to be the incredible Hulk just yet, but. It keeps me, keeps me in shape.
To some extent it keeps me working parts of my body that I don't normally work. And what I always tell myself is that I, out of all the time in the day, I can always make time for those 25 press-ups and, and it's similar to that two minute rule. You can always make time for those more things. And if I had said I'm going to do 200 press-ups a day, I'd find excuses left, right.
And center for not doing that. Similarly, like if you want to write if you want to write a blog post, or you want to write a book, try not by setting out to write the book, just start by saying, I'm going to write a sentence. I mean, it seems too silly and too crazy and really, almost a bit embarrassing to say, to even feel proud that you've written a sentence a day, but the point is a sentence a day is far better than no sentence for an entire month or an entire year.
And it's amazing how those healthy habits compare. And I just encourage you to try that if you can, over the next week see what you can do in two minutes to build healthier habits as a bunch of other stuff in the book, which is really healthy, really important, really helpful. But I, I don't want to read off the entire book of the episode cause that would be, that would be well I'm sure you'd, you'd rather just go and read the book.
But anyway, I hope that that's a helpful one and it's certainly been helpful for me and hopefully I can report back next week because one of the habits I've been trying to adopt is to start writing At least a few sentences every day to form a blog post. So let's see how we're doing and check back in next week.
Thanks for tuning in to episode six of lost and founder. Hopefully a fairly fairly chilled out and simple episode this time. I wanted to just highlight the, I dunno, I guess the actions or takeaways from, from this episode, just to kind of. Hopefully help you energize you for the, for the week ahead.
I think one we're planning, don't get bogged down in planning, try and set a deadline for what you're trying to plan for and creatively try and set a format, whether it's a presentation or a finished document that you're trying to put together by a certain time and try and make it clear who you're going to be sharing that with.
And that will help you. Stop procrastinating and start getting your thoughts together, getting your plan together and actually delivering on what you're planning to do. The second takeaway is to try the two minute rule and, and to see what habits you can start forming. Or just one habit you can start forming in two minutes a day.
And I guess to add a little bit of accountability on this. If you want do reach out, let me know about a habit. You're going to start trying to adopt just two minutes a day. And and I I'll share it. I'll share any that seem seem appropriate next next week. And I'll hopefully give, give some people a shot.
So please do let me know. And I look forward to catching up next week. So in the meantime, have a lovely week ahead. Thanks again for listening. If you do have any thoughts on the show, if you want me to cover any topics, if you have any thoughts or feedback on, on the show, or if you just like it, then please do let me know and and do tell your friends.
So thanks again for listening and catch you next time!