Welcome to the New Year! How have your first few weeks gone? Any exciting plans for your 365 Mile Journey?
Recently a powerful concept keeps crossing my path: “Stay Ready, So You Don’t Have to Get Ready!” (Reference)
Embracing it allows you to be fully open to options in life as they are presented. It also helps you directly attack and remove procrastination from your life. Also, clarifying tasks that are high priority keeps you from falling into the Urgency Trap.
Packed within this idea is wisdom on many different levels. There’s an aura of excitement for opportunities just around the next bend. It also points to the nimbleness that comes with improving yourself — health, skillset, outlook, overcoming personal obstacles — which often opens up your options. Along with improving yourself is prioritizing things you want to accomplish, and things that can be done later or removed from your life completely. Sometimes there is also the need to wrap up old projects or “tidying up” your personal issues so your physical and mental space is ready for new ventures and relationships.
Live life in a way so you are fully open to all options presented
Have you ever *almost* been in the right place and the right time for your life to take off in a positive way?
Do any of these resonate:
- A business you would love to work for has a job opening that would be a major career advancement, but you haven’t yet taken a key course.
- Some friends are hiking an epic backpacking trail that is very grueling, but total worth it. The problem is that you have put on a few too many pounds since the last time you backpacked, and have fallen out of shape.
- There is a chance for you to attend a business conference in a foreign country where you would love to explore… but the trip is in a month and your passport has expired.
By staying ready in the areas of life that are important to you, you can jump at opportunities as they come across your radar.
Remove procrastination from your routine and mindset
One obstacle to staying ready is procrastination. You might be overwhelmed by the process it will take to get ready, and the stress just shuts you down. The tasks might trigger fears of failure. Your schedule might be full and since you technically don’t have to “get ready” right now, you tell yourself you’ll do it later. If any of these are your struggle, I understand.
A first step might be to write these obstacles down and work your way through them. If you’re overwhelmed, maybe the steps to get ready aren’t that hard or numerous. If you fear failure, maybe the worst case scenario is that it will be a small stumble, brief and painless. If your schedule is full, perhaps you can trim it down some. Or maybe your routine isn’t well structured so you have a lot of lost time. Or it could be you have a procrastination mindset. Remember: “If you’re always busy, you may just be procrastinating.”
Avoiding living a life where you leap from one emergency to the next
You might be a person who doesn’t procrastinate; your schedule truly is more than full. People count on you to get things done, are always asking for your input, and your to-do list is never ending! How can you make room to finally get ahead and stay ready?
Have you heard of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, also known as the Urgency-Important Matrix? It explores the trap of getting sucked into working on urgent yet unimportant tasks. These are tasks that come up and there is a pressure to deal with them right away. Text messages from a friend, a co-worker dropping by asking for advice, or group emails that loop you in but don’t require your input. (For a lot of people, most texts or emails fall into the “urgent unimportant” category.)
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix recommends categorizing things in your schedule and life on the Urgent / Not Urgent and Important / Not Important continuum. Then you have the options to 1) do the assignment, 2) delegate the task, 3) decide your next step, or 4) simply delete it from your life.
By prioritizing things in your life this way, not only will you get more of the high priority items accomplished, you will also be less stressed and not feel guilty for not accomplishing those pesky non-urgent, unimportant jobs.
You can also run your “stay ready” list through this decision making metric to determine the priority to get ready and stay ready in that area of your life.
Two Birds, One Stone
Within the category of “Big Tasks” on your “Stay Ready” list are items that are beneficial for a lot of endeavors or are so inevitable that you will have to prepare for them at some point. Start doing these first!
An obvious example is physical health. As people eat healthier and exercise more, they accomplish a long list of other goals: sleep better, require less sleep, think more clearly, fewer aches and pains, require fewer medications, are able to physically do a wider variety of activities, look better, increased confidence, etc, etc. So look for those tasks that can accomplish many different things, and move those up on the priority list.
Make your “Stay Ready” List
As you create your “Stay Ready” list, it might help to methodically go through the different areas of your life, and the different goals and dreams you have for each of them. This will help you to not miss any of the important areas, so you truly “Stay Ready” in most areas.
Also think of what causes the delay for each item on your list. Some tasks naturally take more time, but you might be able to pay someone or delegate the job. Examples: organizing your house or garage, finishing a remodel project, tuning up your car, grocery shopping for healthy foods.
It might also be effective to hire someone to assist:
- Hire a tutor to help learn a language
- Get a personal trainer to get physically fit
- Register for a public speaking class
- Go to private lessons with a dance coach
- Pay a financial expert to help you create a workable budget.
Other “Stay Ready” tasks require others to do all the work, and they might be notorious for going slow. The government comes to mind. For example, if you want to travel overseas, you’ll need a passport from the U.S. Department of State. And getting one often takes more than eight weeks. Even if you expedite it, you’re still looking at 5-7 weeks.
“Stay Ready” Ideas
Ready to make your list? Need some suggestions? Here is a long list of examples, both big and small, divided up by Personal, People, Profit, Planet, and Purpose:
- Staying in shape, so you can go on physical adventures like hikes and walks at a moments notice
- Stay rested… you don’t know if tomorrow will be an exhausting day
- Clean car / house to entertain others
- Public speaking (Toastmasters)
- Saving money, both for emergencies and for special occasions
- Getting your passport (remember: 8-11 weeks!!!)
- Emergency bag in car
- Change of clothes in car
- Learning a new language of a place you’d like to travel to
- Learning to dance
- Keeping car tuned up
- Emergency supplies at home (heating source, food, water, communications, lighting, first aid)
- Expect the unexpected: life is a rollercoaster; be flexible and make it a habit to develop contingency plans.
- Asking that person out on a date
- Learning to be more social so you can network and meet people socially more easily
- Time management: being up-to-date on tasks so your schedule is more flexible to help others when the need arises, even if it’s just a listening ear.
- Emergency plan with family in case of fire or natural disaster.
- Food at home to quickly prepare a meal for others
- If you have a hard time talking to others, think of some fun topics you can bring up with others, or maybe some jokes.
- Last Will and Testament (Living Will), along with passwords, accounts, medical info, and your Portable Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment – POLST.
- Plan to arrive at work 15 minutes early: traffic may be bad, or something might need your attention before others arrive.
- Continually learn new skills and tasks at work so that you can fill in or be promoted more easily.
- Elevator Pitch, so you can be ready to advertise
- Organized workspace, so you can adapt quickly to new projects
- Brainstorming new applications and niches for your products and services to you can head in new directions faster
- As you do your job, organize the big picture aspects in case your supervisor asks for an update or presentation. It might help you see areas that could be improved on.
- Keep a running list of problems you see in your line of work or that your clients have; you might see a potential new product to solve the problem.
- Change of professional clothes at work in case your daily clothes get damaged or you need to look better for an unexpected client meeting or presentation
- Having garbage bags in your car to throw trash
- Having reusable water bottles and utensils
- Have a small garden; you’ll have food whenever you want
- Composting… if you’re gardening, you’ll be ready with rich soil
- Anticipate how materials around your work or home environments might get released into the environment so that you have the needed supplies to stop it or clean it up. Examples might be oil leaking from your car onto your driveway, or protecting plants while painting your house. (“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”)
- Cleaning out your spare room in case someone needs a place to stay
- Organizing resources to lend people in need, such as tools, clothes, hobby/sports, outdoor gear.
- Many things in the Personal and People section can apply here:
- time management so you can volunteer
- Having your passport so you can travel to other countries to help there
- Learning a language so you can help people in other ethnic groups
- Storing up some savings for when you see a need that can be helped with a donation.
What are you “Staying Ready” for?
This is an exciting time! You have your list, and you’re probably excited to get going on it so you are “Staying Ready.” Tell someone about what you’re aiming for. It will make what you’re working on that much more real, and maybe those people might get inspired by you!
If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear what you’re aiming to achieve this year. Leave a comment below in the comment section. Your words might encourage others, and the conversation be rewarding for you both.
Who said it best?
“Stay Ready, So You Don’t Have to Get Ready!” is a slogan recently repeated by both Will Smith and Conor McGregor. However, the saying can be traced farther back to the 1997 single “If U Stay Ready” by Dejuan Walker (a.k.a. “Suga Free”), so he might be the origin for this nugget of wisdom.