The power of preparation
for part of her career, my mother was a highly skilled seamstress, creating beautiful and elegant costumes for Children's theater productions. Now it was always amazing to me how she managed to get something done in half the time. It would have taken another seamstress without any apparent reduction in quality. When I asked my mom how she was so effective at her work, she simply replied, I measure twice and cut once. This is really similar to that famous quote supposedly said by Abraham Lincoln, give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the acts. Now I don't want to get into a long and drawn out lecture about the importance of preparation. So instead I'll say this, whether it's learning a new skill, writing an article or cutting down a tree. The old adage is true. A minute of preparation saves an hour of deliberation. We all fall prey to improper preparation. In fact, as I wrote out my talking points for this exact lecture, I realized that I neede...
d to look up the exact abraham Lincoln quote I mentioned before. Now doing that meant switching gears, searching through google, getting distracted and losing my focus. If I had searched for all the quotes, I would need ahead of time and had them ready alongside my text editing app, I would have saved at least five minutes. But even more importantly I would have avoided disrupting my flow state, which we'll learn more about later on in the course, of course, nobody is perfect and remembering to invest in proper preparation is an ongoing battle for me and everyone else. But first and foremost, I want to alert you to the fact that you can save a lot of time just by properly preparing. In fact, this little life hack applies to almost anything you do. If you're writing a research paper, pull up all the articles you need beforehand, so you don't have to break your concentration to search for them. If you're cooking, pull out all the ingredients you need from the fridge, take them out of the plastic bags and put them in your work area in an organized manner. If you're fixing a car, figure out all the different bolt sizes that the car uses and then organize all the tools you'll need in advance if you're heading into a meeting, brief yourself on the other person's credentials so you can avoid asking unnecessary clarification questions and wasting everyone's time. You get the idea. Planning ahead is a habit that will almost never backfire on you. In the worst case scenario, you do a little extra work that you have to throw out. But in the best case scenario, you maintain calm, save time and set yourself up to be more effective when it's go time. It's like my dear friend, dr, Anthony mischievous always likes to quote dig your wells before you're thirsty. So it really is that simple just by investing in your preparation upfront, you can save tons of time in an execution and we haven't even gotten into the strategies for being more effective in the tasks themselves.