Every top QB has a famous 2-minute drill or last second pass to win the game. The John Elways of the world, the Joe Montanas of the world, the Tom Bradys, and Peyton Mannings of the world all have those moments. In basketball, those moments occur as well. How about Jordan against the Cavs or him against the Jazz for his final title? Magic Johnson took Kareem’s “sky hook” and used it to edge out the Celtics after being down by close to 20 points earlier in that same game. We love to see big game players, in big moments, with little to no time left, perform at the highest level. It’s something about the pressure of racing against the clock. Professional basketball is played for 48 minutes. Professional football is played for 60 minutes. But it’s the big players that find a way to make it happen in little to no time.
In my personal life, I’ve concluded that I don’t always do well with small breaks. I may have 3-4 meetings scheduled and I struggle with being productive at a maximum level in between those meetings. Should I schedule all of my meetups in one place? Should I to my meeting location early and do other work? I also do Uber, so should I do a few rides during my break? I think on these questions on those days when a big meeting or several meetings dominate my calendar for the day. Another struggle within that struggle is that if I have one or more meetings in a day, sometimes I can’t be as productive in my other work/tasks because I’m thinking about that meeting. Thinking could be me anticipating the meeting because the person or group I’m meeting with normally inspires me. Thinking could also mean that I want to cancel because I don’t want to meet or talk, but I’ve committed and the commitment itself has drained me. Either way, I am working to be more productive on meeting days. I’ve been pondering the idea of limiting my schedule and taking all meetings on one or two days of the month. I’ve contemplated setting new, more strenuous rules for accepting meeting requests altogether. When I think of all these things, my mind goes back to one thought: “Be a champion of your life”. How can I be a champion of my life and my time? I’ve gotta work on my 2-minute drill.
In an effort to get my health in order, I work out twice during the weekdays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my days for working out with a trainer at 11 am. I try not to cancel those appointments. I made a new rule for myself that I won’t cancel anything that will benefit me 30 days or more from the current day. If someone wants to meet or call me during those times, I’m almost certain that their topic won’t have more of a benefit for my life than my health improving. A good friend asked me to go to lunch on a Tuesday at 1 pm. My workout is normally 50 minutes. I live about 5-7 minutes from the workout spot. That means I get back home at noon on the dot. The lunch meet up was in downtown DC. Should I drive? Should I take an uber or the train? A lot of thoughts went through my head. All of a sudden, the pressure of putting all of my energy into planning to meet with someone for a simple lunch preoccupies my mind. I get the lunch invitation text around 9:30 am that day. I thought on that for about the next 5-6 minutes. And I developed a plan:
- Pull out clothes that I will wear when I shower after the gym
- Pack my bookbag in case I want to use the lunch location as a place to work after we eat
- Put everything in the bathroom that I will need when I get back from the gym
- Take out trash before I go to the gym so I won’t have to when I get back
- Take my coat out of the closet and hang need my door so I can put it on as I exit
- Charge my cell phone before the gym and don’t bring it in the bathroom when I shower (so I won’t get distracted)
This seems simple for people who are time-oriented and currently maximizing their days. I can confess to not being one of those people. And guess what? I did the workout, came home, showered, got ready, and ended up not only being the first one at the lunch location out of the group….but also ahead of the 1 pm scheduled time. It felt good. It gave me confidence that I can adjust to tight schedules in my day. I know that it can be done. I am not saying I am always late or never able to adjust to a day filled with items to handle. But, this was a day where I was conscious of the fact that I have days when I slip.
I saw a quote recently: “Goals are for losers; systems are for winners”. Now, I won’t subscribe to the idea that having a goal makes you a loser. But, I do agree that systems increase your chances of winning. Those great football players, basketball players, and their coaches have systems that they follow. “IF THIS, THEN THAT” (IFTT) is common in these systems. Simply put, the conditions and available resources will determine what you do. Let’s say a team with the football is down 2 points with 40 seconds left, one timeout remaining, and they complete a pass to the 50-yard line in the middle of the field. If you’re a football fan, without blinking, you know that the next play should be the QB spiking the ball to stop the clock. If the QB completes that pass in the middle of the field, then you spike the ball to stop the clock. This is because the team is down by 2 points, a field goal wins the game, and you want to preserve the one remaining timeout as you get closer to the desired field goal range. Coaches, QBs, and offensive coordinators go over scenarios and IFTT situations all week in preparation for the game.
As champions of our own lives, we need to begin to think about those last-minute situations. A former boss once told me to keep a shirt and tie behind my office door just in case I have to attend a meeting and I’m somewhat dressed down that day. If you are anticipating a meeting that will benefit you and inspire you, what happens if it’s canceled or postponed? Do you suddenly have “free time”? Are you suddenly dejected and sad? Do you have other work that can fill that space? If you have back to back meetings and you’re moving across town, do you have snacks on you in case you’re on the go and can’t get a square meal until later?
The champions are the ones who prepared for the worst-case scenario that happens with little to no time left. The masters of the game make it appear as if they figure it out in the moment. What’s truly happening is that they are figuring it out before the game ever starts. I believe the key to my success is being prepared and going through scenarios in my day to make each day count.
How do you make each day count? Leave a comment on the systems you’ve put in place or would like to have in place….