Rituals are an important aspect of life, culture and comfort.  While many rituals are deeply rooted in religion or ethnicity, some are simply acts that give us comfort due to familiarity.  This can be as simple as the food one eats before a marathon or the way you unpack your suitcase when arriving at a business hotel. 

One of the rituals that I hold closest is the morning coffee.  Over the past few years I have taken great satisfaction of getting the process right.  I have two ways of making morning coffee, one a bit more time consuming than the other.  In both cases it requires the perfect amount of coffee beans, ground to exacting tolerances and water heated to a specific temperature.  While I prefer the pour over method, I will more often than not use a French press due to efficiency.  I will however never use a Keurig or other contraption that removes the joy of the process from the experience.

Rituals are not about outcomes, they are about the process. They are comforting in the perfection of the small details that are otherwise lost in the need for efficiency that pollutes many other aspects of life.

Scheduling Life with the Eisenhower Matrix

This year I implemented a prioritization tool that has proven very useful.  It is called the Eisenhower Matrix as it was either designed or made famous by US President Dwight Eisenhower. 

The purpose of the matrix is to determine which tasks you will do yourself, delegate, schedule or eliminate from your responsibility set.  This is done simply by putting items in one of four camps related to importance and urgency. 

I’ve found three elements imperative in using this matrix:

  1. Communicate when items are urgent versus important, both when you request that somebody executes them and when something is asked of you.
  2. Limit the items in each box to no more than eight.  This includes both professional and personal items.
  3. The items that are neither urgent nor important should be placed in the appropriate box only if their priority could be changed later when time frees up.  When anything is moved into the bottom right box, inform stakeholders that you have no intention of executing that deliverable so they can reframe their expectations, demonstrate why it should be in a different box or look for another path to have the task handled.

If it is Worth Doing, it is Worth Overdoing.

Some people say that everything in moderation is a good thing.  I completely disagree.  Moderation does not truly test the impact of the discipline, event or food in question.  Moderation is a hedge and a fear to understand the impact of truly committing yourself to something. 

Comparing moderation to outright commitment, I’ll start with the positives for moderation.  You are less likely to get tired of the event.  You will never feel like you have failed because you never really put in 100% effort.  You will keep some sort of balance in other parts of your life.  All fair points. 

Points in favor of overdoing things are that you can put in every ounce of your energy to best understand your capabilities.  You’ll never question what would’ve or could’ve been.  You will learn when overdoing something becomes unhealthy and will have experienced it firsthand as opposed to academically.  You’ll also gain a much greater appreciation of the sport, hobby or pastime than you would if you were treating it as temporary as tourism.

So yes, if something is worth doing, I contend that it is most definitely worth overdoing!