My new mantra: Game Plans

brad pitt

I’m going to be in India for less than two months now, and I have a shit ton of work to finish before I leave. I have to devise and execute a whole marketing plan for my start-up – including filming its video, talking to advisers and preparation for meetings with prospective investors. I need to finish a brain computer interface based consumer project at my lab. I need to submit another draft for a journal paper within a week. I have to submit another report to the organization which pays for my research grant. In addition to this, I’m regularly doing an online course to help me prepare for some of the courses in grad school. This is of course apart from getting my housing, immunization, visa etc done before moving to a new country (and I’m not even considering these in my list of things to do). Phew!

To be honest – I feel pretty overwhelmed. The stuff above is indispensable. I cannot just walk off and hope that it gets done by itself since I mostly work alone (at least at the lab). With my newfound willpower through nofap, I also really want to complete all this shit, and then feel like a god. It’s a lot of deep work (will write a separate post about it, for now link) though, and needs a considerable amount of time and energy. These tasks also need to be managed optimally, since I’m facing a considerable time crunch.

Luckily for me, I know an individual named Karthik who’s the CEO of an incredible new tech company open water (they’re radically changing water purification methods using field effect transistors!) and he’s been advising me a lot regarding my start-up. I asked him about how I should go about deploying my app (I’m going to soon talk about this app) into the market fast and he gave me a lot of useful advice. One thing I took from it was to have a solid game plan for deployment – every single step has to be planned and then executed without fault.

Now,  having a solid plan of action is imperative in business, and launching a product without a plan, execution, and contingencies is just stupid. However, how often do we employ this technique in planning our lives? Planning day to day work. Music sessions. Academic courses? If you habits are anything like mine – rarely! Although I often start my day by looking at a specific to do list for the day or week using wunderlist or evernote, I seldom approach my activities with a solid plan of action which guarantees an optimal result. By this plan, I mean directions on how to start, different aspects or implementation needed to finish that work, things that can go wrong, what step follows what – everything!

Like I said, I haven’t consciously followed game plans in the past. However, a lot of my success has been influenced by other smarter people with game plans. For instance, while writing my Statement of Purpose (SOP) for grad applications, my sister (who is a massive overachiever by the standards of any field) helped me devise a strategy to draft it with structure, add great content and finesse, and thus finish it well in time. Or when I was writing a research paper for a journal that I just submitted as the sole student author – my boss/professor (who I feel thinks only through Boolean logic, & a Harvard, EPFL alumni) pushed me to follow an approach to complete experiments and write my manuscript, which was efficient, provided a margin for error, and every step on the way fell into place smoothly. My SOP and the journal paper were great, but only because I had a good plan of action which was executed well. I can empirically say that this approach to finishing a large or complex task really works.

Game plans work because they give you a responsibility to act. They give meaning to a small task because you feel everything’s part of the bigger picture. They keep you focused with the work at hand. It also increases the simplicity of doing a complex task because you know exactly what to do when. This is why sports coaches are paid so well, because they have the game-plan for an expensive team. This is also why CEO’s are given huge salaries – they have game plans for huge corporations and implementing them is a big thing.

So I’m gonna tackle all the tasks I mentioned above with game plans written down. I’ll put up scans of the game plans in a separate post in the future. Stay tuned.

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