I almost didn’t write this one. It’s 10pm and probably 80 degrees in this new apartment of mine (window AC units are yet to be installed) and I’ve just finished a full day that included a UHAUL rental and trips to IKEA and Lowe’s. A day that could be considered traumatic? Hardly. But at the same time, a day that’s just strenuous enough for me to talk myself out of something important to me—writing this post.
The reason these words are being typed right now is because I stacked the odds. Earlier today, my more-motivated self (let’s call him “past Kyle”) realized that this less-than-motivating situation might occur for future Kyle when he got home from a late dinner. Because of this, before I left, I put my laptop in an area where I’d have to physically pick it up and move it before going to bed. This served as just enough of a guilt trip/trigger to get me to write this evening. I’ll edit the post and send it out in the morning with fresh eyes (I’m hallucinating in this heat), but the bulk of the work will already be done. Future Kyle will like this.
Everything we plan to do in the future have associated "odds" of actually occuring. There’s a 100% chance that we’ll eat, drink, and sleep today (hopefully). And there’s a nearly-as-high chance that we’ll show up for work or brush our teeth. I think of these as tasks with concrete odds because they're very high and don’t vary much.
On the other hand, the odds that we’ll do things like go to the gym or stay consistent on writing a blog are more variable in the fragile stage that exists before a repeated task becomes habit. I don’t trust myself in this stage—no one should, really. It's too easy to abandon tasks here. So I intentionally do things to give myself better odds in completing these sorts of tasks. Some examples this week have included the story above on getting myself to write the blog post as well as agreeing with a friend that we’ll complete all of our tasks on the Streaks app (highly-recommended) this week. Getting a text from him this morning refocused me on how I was going to get those 6 tasks accomplished today.
Kitchens stack odds too. They organize themselves to a point of near insanity to increase the odds of being able to provide a consistent high-quality product. Things will get hectic when orders start pouring in, so a kitchen's organization aims to make it just as easy for a cook to prepare a dish the right way than it is to cut corners. These little intentional choices add up, and can be the difference between a restaurant being successful or going under. The parallels here to the way we choose to go about our daily routines are uncanny!
Change Your Odds
Active time to complete: 1 min
What is one thing this week that you want to make sure you accomplish? Think creatively on ways you can improve your odds on accomplishing it. How can you make it easier on your future self to get started on it? How can you gain more accountability to get it done?