By- Tom Kubrak
Learning to “Take The L” is not an easy thing to do. A lot of times we like to push ourselves so hard in whatever we’re doing that we push past our ‘internal buzzer’ going off telling us to stop. We like to think we’re Superman though and we keep pushing on until…
We like to confuse this with “working hard.” We often do this when we’re going to miss a deadline. We end up staying up late at night studying for a test, or preparing for a meeting.
Taking The L is all about not pushing yourself to the point where we’re going to be exhausted and not producing the same results tomorrow as we were able to yesterday. It’s about not getting into a ‘slump’ or having a “bad week.” Taking the L, as crazy as it sounds, is about doing our best to never have to say that, we had a bad week, month, or year.
Many times we think we have to stay up until the waning hours of the evening and then fall asleep on our desks. When we do this we oftentimes go into the day tired, exhausted from our marathon last night, and then having to rely on caffeine the whole day. When people run into you and ask, “Hey man are you alright?” You then reply, “I’m sooo tired. I need another cup of coffee.”
I get it though, sometimes you really need to hit a deadline, it’s okay to be flexible with your schedule occasionally. I’m all for that. I actually wrote about that in my post titled “Flex and Go.” But the problem is not that one time. The problem is repeating this week after week, month after month, and sometimes year after year.
Taking the L is about learning from your mistakes. Having guidelines in your life. Just like a shot clock in basketball, or having a 90 minute running clock in soccer.
When the clock strikes zero it’s game over. There’s no redos. No going back. You can’t change the score at the end of the game but you can learn from the game(your day) so maybe you don’t lose next time.
Applying that same mindset in life some guidelines we can set for ourselves are…
- Create a strict bedtime. Check out Thomas Frank’s post about his thoughts on having a “bed time alarm clock.” https://collegeinfogeek.com/bed-on-time-stop-losing-sleep/
- Create start times when you want to start your day and any project you’re working on. If you’re an entrepreneur this is critical for your success. Just like your boss saying you need to clock in on time or else.
- Create cutoff times for your work day. This will allow you to not overdo things and go into each day and task with enough energy.
- Create consequences for yourself when you miss these deadlines. If you want to maximize your results you have to be the toughest person on yourself.
- Create consistent eating times- Our eating can affect our work. When we don’t have these times set, we oftentimes find ourselves eating at our desk when we should be working. Maybe you spill your coffee or drop your plate of chinese food, then you have to go grab a broom and some paper towels to go clean it up. If you miss the window you set for yourself, a consequence might be having to skip that meal. If you’re struggling with your eating check out my post “The One Bite Left Strategy.”
- Plan your day out- Do this so you know the game plan for the day to make you better stick to the boundaries you set for yourself. Seeing your plan and writing it out daily is powerful.
Learning from Your Mistakes
- Daily/Evening Review- Buy a Notebook and take 10-15 minutes every night to review the day. Write down what happened that was good and then write down anything bad that happened. Ask yourself questions like, “What could I have done differently? What did I do wrong? What did I do right? How could I have been better understood in that conversation that turned into an argument? Why was I so awkward in that conversation today?” Check out Christian Teitze article on what he does for his Daily Review https://zettelkasten.de/posts/daily-routine/
- The I Will Statement– I wrote about this one a few months ago but this strategy is about repetition and repeatedly writing what you want to do or stop doing in your life 5-10 times a night over the course of a few weeks or months. https://readyaction.blog/2017/11/17/the-i-will-statement-strategy-why-saying-and-writing-i-will-can-help-you-get-past-those-nagging-habits-that-are-holding-you-back/
- Stick to the plan- This will help you to not think the common, “Wow, that was lucky.” Hand in some work that was sub par and then think you can wait until the last minute again.
We often think that our alarm clock in the morning is the only thing we need, but we forget about a “go to bed clock.” Create the time that best fits your schedule so you can get the right amount of sleep for yourself.
Remember, it’s about creating consistency in your life and maximizing your results. It’s about making sure you go into each day feeling refreshed, recharged and ready to take on the day having learned from your mistakes. Be patient when you start implementing these strategies. Don’t rush the results that will come if you implement some of these guidelines.
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” -Anonymous
By- Tom Kubrak
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