You know those kids in school who always wore their tie in the elevator, did their homework in the bus and exam prep in assembly? That kid was me.
So in the larger scheme of things - I am not the type of person who has ever had resolutions. I’ve never been overly motivated to lose weight or run marathons, I’ve been fairly satisfied with the rate at which life was taking me.
I don’t know why I lost that sense of satisfaction over the last 3 months. Of course, my lack of planning did not help a mammoth task like Diwali and it also had me feeling very lost when one of my mentors asked me to show her my business plan for the next 6 months. I didn’t know where to start or what I wanted. It made me realize that this is not okay. I can’t just “wing it” forever.
What 2020 taught me
Contrary to what most people are saying this year, the biggest thing that I learnt in 2020 has nothing to do with the pandemic.
2020 taught me that time literally has a value to it. It is a limited resource that you want to get the most out of. At least money is something that you can earn more if you work harder, but time gone is time lost.
What are you doing at work that someone else can do? What could you have been doing in that same time span? Last year at this time, I was doing physical workshops for a corporate client. I used to travel for 4 hours and prep for 1 hour to conduct a 90-minute session and only charge Rs 6,000 per session. It was an investment of an entire day and at that time, I was happy with the amount I was earning. Now, I feel like I can invest a full day into connecting with the right people on LinkedIn to generate a larger sale value. This was the opportunity cost that I lost.
I feel like everyone will need to define their own metrics on how to put a value to their time and it will keep evolving as their ambition grows, but being mindful about time is more important to me now than ever before.
Quoting quotes to join the dots
I’ve grown up listening to very helpful business skills from my father at the dining table, it is what he is immensely passionate about and it is also what he teaches corporate employees for a living. I think he also gets these one-liners from his father, although I doubt he’ll ever admit it.
My grandfather often says, “there is a vacancy at the top, but the bottom is crowded.”
And then my father occasionally reminds me, “1 minute of planning saves 3 minutes of execution.” Another one of his favourite concepts is the Bekhard’s Equation of Change which states that dissatisfaction combined with a vision and first steps needs to be larger than the resistance to change.
Now I know I want to be at the top, but whatever I have been doing is clearly not enough to get me there at the speed at which I would like. I was reminded of a book my father owns which is titled – what got you here, won’t get you there.
If I connected all of these quotes, the point was that I needed to change.
Now that I knew that I needed to change, the question was - how? A youtube video taught me that once you set your goals, you need to decide what habits you are going to follow to reach those goals.
For example, if I want to read 25 books this year, I will need to read for 30 minutes every day. If I want 30k followers on Dream a Dozen’s Instagram – I need to consistently post at least 5-6 stories daily. These small every day habits will add up eventually and sooner or later, we’ll reach our goal.
I spent the last two weeks of December trying to plan my 2021. Not only for the business aspect of my life, but also my health, family, personal development and finances. Now planning this was not an easy task for a “non-planner” like myself. I constantly had an excel sheet open on my laptop but barely made any progress.
This video I stumbled upon genuinely helped me, I must have watched it at least 8 times. Now I have a list of goals and habits. I also have a month wise plan for the business’s growth. My aim is to get to an average of 100 orders/day by the end of 2021. At the moment we are only at about 10 orders/day, so this is no small task. It will require investment in marketing, infrastructure, employees and technology but I have tried to list out everything strategically so we can keep up.
Given that the list of goals is so elaborate, I need to start maintaining a calendar. I will block out time for tasks which are repetitive in nature and keep time aside to solve problems that I cannot anticipate.
I have never worked in a corporate environment and although I have seen many of my friends effectively use calendars that seem fairly easy – it does not come naturally to me. So, I went back to youtube and searched for “how to use google calendar to plan your day” and started absorbing as much knowledge as I could.
In 2016, at my first (and only) job, my old boss Minu used to send me calendar invites for a one on one meeting the same day. I used to laugh and find it so funny, because I just didn’t understand why someone sitting in the opposite chair needs to tell me they will speak to me via email, when they can just say it verbally. Now, I’m scheduling meetings with my team and sending them calendar invites – only took me 4 years to understand why Minu did what she did.
I am not close to completing my 2021 plan, but I think I will also keep adding to it as the days pass. The unpredictability in business is one of the things that attracts me but also one of the things that makes it difficult to list out everything that will or should happen.
Holding myself accountable
So here I am, 2021. Writing out of my office before anybody else has come to work on 1st January. Hoping to drink enough water, exercise enough, read many books, make great sales and make my parents proud.
And here is my list of goals. I’m putting this out here so that I feel seriously embarrassed if I don’t follow through, because announcing these things makes me feel like I gave someone my word. By 31st December, 2021 – I hope I can tell the girl in the bus doing her homework that it’ll work out either ways :)
Reaching 100 orders/day in 2021
Opening 2 new kitchens in Bangalore
Reaching 30k followers on Dream a Dozen's instagram
Reading at least 25 books in 2021
Investing my savings wisely
20k followers on Megna Jain's instagram handle
5k connections on Linkedin
Reaching at least 1000 readers on my blog posts!
Now I know these may seem over-ambitious, but you also know how I'm letting these quotes determine my life. And the best one I've heard is - if you reach for the moon, at least you'll land amongst the stars :)