Imagine you had a friend who said to you, “I have 140 emails in my in-box”. What would you say next? I'll tell you what. You'd be a little surprised, and you'd say, “You get 140 emails a day?”
“No, not a day”, this friend would answer. “I get just 20 emails a day.” But I check my email weekly.
At this point, you want to hold back, but you can't help yourself.
“Why don't you check your email every day?” is what you'd ask. And the friend would stubbornly say, “Ah, I have no time. I can only check it once a week.”
But you can see the downside of this obstinate behaviour, can't you?
If you check 140 emails a week, a lot of things happen. So let's make a list of things that instantly go wrong.
1) There's just too much to cope with at one go.
2) It's hard to sort out the important and the urgent from the crappy stuff.
3) If there's an urgent matter that you've ignored for an entire week, that something is going to come back and bite you in the butt, big time.
Which is kinda how talent works
If I go for a watercolour class, I go once a week. So guess what? Let's say the class is on a Tuesday. Then I don't do much on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday is when I start thinking about practicing. And before I know it—yup, you got it—it's Tuesday.
And this is why most of us never acquire skills at the pace we should
We always seem to have no time. But what good is all that mumbling and grumbling? You can't acquire adequate skill by dipping your toe in it once a week. The only way is to practice and learn every day.
Without the daily check in, your brain struggles
If you learn every day, your brain goes through steps.
1) It learns a lot. And it kinda forgets most of the stuff.
2) The next day, it tries to remember, but fails.
3) This is when the brain is most alert. It has failed. So it pays attention.
4) The following day you remember even more. And you make more mistakes.
5) The more mistakes you make the more your brain struggles.
6) The more it struggles the more it seeks to remember.
7) By the end of the week, you remember a lot more and are a just a smidgen faster than you were at the start of the week.
Smidgens don't add up. They become exponential
At first, there's too much to cope with, so your brain struggles like crazy. Of course the cranky ones give up at this point. But the smart ones keep at it. They don't attempt to do it all. Just a little bit every day, so the struggle is manageable.
And in time those smidgens get together and boof—it's like cycling
One minute you're falling all over the place. The next minute you have balance and momentum. And suddenly you have far less struggle.
Struggle is sorting through 140 emails in your brain
Time is of no consequence. If you don't clear those 20 emails a day, they pile up to 40, then 80. And when you get to them, they seem not like 40—but more like 500.
At this point you begin to detest dealing with email. And the same applies to whatever skill you've been trying to apply. You suddenly think you're not talented, when it's really a matter of daily diligence.
But often you need help—so listen up if you're a teacher/consultant
Your students can't deal with a ton of stuff. So break up your course into daily practice. We do this on all our course—and every big skill acquisition course we ever have at Psychotactics.
Every day is mapped out. Every break is mapped out. Every public holiday is taken into consideration. And there's no escape for those who don't show up every day—they just get barred from the course.
As a teacher you have to lay down the rules, because for starters, it forces you to think through the tiny steps the students have to take. And in turn, you have to enforce the daily practice, rewarding those who show up and physically booting out the slackers that don't.
Talent acquisition is not a question of having time—or not having time. It's about daily practice.
Tackling 140 emails at a time is for the dunderheads.
Don't be one. If you're teaching, break it up. If you're learning, break it up. And suddenly those smidgens come together. Suddenly you're, um, talented.
Because ‘weekly' doesn't work as well.
‘Bi-weekly' barely seems better.
All that really works is daily practice.
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I get 400-500+ emails every day into 7 gmail accounts. How many would I read every day? Very few. By using the email filter each incoming email automatically goes to its appropriate folder. When I want to catch up with and work on that particular “niche” topic I simply access that folder. Time management is the key.