Elevate your game and get shit done. Welcome to your 4 Dimensions. Ghostbusters!
The Covid-19 crisis has forced us to reconsider our ways of working. And a lot of the things that we considered impossible before, are now within our grasp.
Before the pandemic, I was no fan of working from home. I was not blocked by a poor internet connection. I was not just ready to have to think about cooking every lunch or having to eat leftovers from the day before. I love the fact that we have a cantina at work. And my lunch break is the moment where I have to get out of my “open space”, get out of my building and walk for 5 to 10 minutes to the cantina. It is a moment where we don’t talk about work-related topics and just enjoy our meal and chat for one hour. Then we will go grab some coffee and continue our mundane discussions.
Now with Covid-19, I embraced working from home like millions of people all around the world. One of the challenges of working from home is to create a dedicated workspace and time, both physically and mentally. Indeed we are expected to deliver at least the same level of work, either from home or at the office. Yet finding the right balance can be quite a challenge.
In this article, I will share with you the 4 “Ds” method I use to get shit done, no matter if I am working from home or at the office.
Before getting there, I would like to talk about the Zeigarnik effect, the monkey mind versus the water mind.
THE ZEIGARNIK EFFECT — We humans love checking boxes or in other words, crossing things in our checklists or To-do lists. And this is explained below:
“Named after Soviet psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik, in psychology the Zeigarnik effect occurs when an activity that has been interrupted may be more readily recalled. It postulates that people remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.”
While working at the office, we might be interrupted often by our colleagues, a phone call, a new email, or some other notifications from our smart devices.
At home, replace colleagues with our loved ones and the challenge to stay focused is even bigger.
All those unfinished tasks become ghosts in our minds. They try to cope with it and become monkeys. Welcome to the monkey minds’ business.
THE MONKEY MIND — When we think about a monkey in its natural habitat, we see it going from tree to tree. That monkey is aiming for food at least. Yet when it comes to our monkey mind, it is totally different. We are jumping from one unfinished task to another, all day long. We cannot get anything done. And the worst is that we are creating more ghost trees in the process.
THE WATER MIND — It is summer. It is very hot outside. Sitting on a bench, at the top of the hill, you are enjoying a nice ice cream. At the edge of the hill, there is a harbor. The sun is rising and a nice and beautiful boat is leaving for its daily adventure. Sitting there, you see the wake of the boat disappear before your eyes. This is the water mind. No matter how strong the disruption, the water mind will always flow back to its calm state. This is the power of the water mind.
Now that we have introduced our main characters, let’s see how we can train our minds to shift from monkey to water.
For each new action in our basket, we have to reduce it to one of the 4 Dimensions below:
- Do it
- Delegate it
- Defer it
- Drop it
What this will do is close all the open loops in our mind and we will see why below.
DO IT — Nike said it: Just do it. If after a quick assessment, you see that you can do the action, just do it. There is no need to wait. One ghost removed.
DELEGATE IT — Maybe this new action can be done by a colleague or somebody else in your team. Delegate the action to them and explain to them why. Another ghost bites the dust.
DEFER IT — This action might need more input to be completed. You can deliberately choose to defer it to another moment in the future. Ghostbusters!
DROP IT — This is the most underrated action killer. By using the Pareto principle, we can get rid of most of the incoming actions in our life. If you have any doubt, please replay 2020 and Covid-19. A legion of ghosts is gone.
I have been using the 4 rivers above and I have built myself a water mind, bigger than the pacific ocean. It is a challenge for sure. Some storms came and will come to create waves in my life. Family, friends, colleagues, life challenges, no matter how big the wave is, I always manage to get my water mind back to its initial form.
NEXT ACTION, THE KEY TO THE 4 Ds — Whether I decide to do it, delegate it, defer it or drop it, I always define the next action attached to that.
This is the secret ingredient for this system to work. We have always to define a clear, specific next action to do for all the actions we drop in either of the 4 rivers. The next action is the harbor where the boat on the “Do it” river must go. Same for all other rivers. If we fail to define the next action, we are just creating traffic jams in our rivers.
2 MINUTES RULE, THE ONE MORE THING — If you can get rid of the ghost in 2 minutes, why wait?
This has been one of my big mistakes. I used to ignore tasks that I could accomplish very quickly with low initial cost in terms of time and energy, mental or physical. They always grow into huge ghosts over time. And then I was overwhelmed by them.
By the moment I was conscious of the consequences of ignoring a task that can be done in 2 minutes, I never let them slide.
Either at home or at the office, we are naturally pushed to fall back to a monkey mind. ANd we are stuck on a loop of infinite wandering, like a ghost, lost in translation.
With the 4 Ds system, we can morph the monkey onto water. We invite stillness in our lives. We are taking back our minds and we become an invisible force. We might encounter immovable objects. Yet we will continue our journey, always going back to our calm, still from, like water.
We become the best Ghostbusters in our life. Now, we are the heroes we have been searching for.
What are your best tips to dissipate the ghosts in your life?
How are you coping with the new ways of working from home?
Any thought about how to shift from monkey to water?
Leave a comment below.
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You can read my previous article on Unbreakable, Split, and Glass. 3 techniques to Unleash the Shadow Gods within you!