by Asim Jalis
Here are some thoughts on how to schedule predictable
The trouble with planning and goal-setting is that only the most
mundane stuff can be planned. The most interesting and profitable
insights and ideas occur unplanned serendipitously. They cannot
So we have a dilemma. Either we let people wander around till
they have these insights or we make them deliver mundane and
Here is a way out of this. To schedule the miraculous stuff,
schedule the mundane stuff. Set modest goals. Focus on creating
daily value and on building momentum. Don't worry about the
Spend at least 30 minutes each day plodding towards these mundane
goals. Take them seriously. Don't let anything interfere with
these 30 minutes. The point is to constantly engage with the
plodding and mundane work.
Create daily value towards these unimaginative goals, and then
patiently wait for the miraculous and yet inevitable breakthrough
Here is why a breakthrough is inevitable. Each action, even
action towards a mundane goal, creates side-effects, and
eventually those side-effects build up into a tsunami.
The goals have to be mundane because we can only make measurable
progress towards mundane things that we can already see. Most
things that we can already see and imagine are much less
revolutionary than the things that we cannot conceive.
The risk with setting revolutionary goals is that it is
impossible to measure progress, or to measure daily value, or to
even feel progress being made.
If the big intangible goal is to master mathematics, the small
tangible boring goal can be to read 2 pages of an abstract
algebra book every day.
If the big goal is unleash a killer app, the small goal can be to
write a simple program that does something modestly useful.
Modest achievable goals are uninspiring, but by definition they
are achievable. In fact they are usually trivial to achieve. The
big goals might be awe-inspiring but the path to their
achievement is vague and unclear.
Here is another analogy. Say you are seeking the Holy Grail (this
is your big goal). Instead of staying in one place, and thinking
feverishly where to go, start the journey. Pick a town, any town,
and start walking. Each action creates its side-effects, and
eventually in the eddies of these side-effects, these unintended
consequences, you will find your real goal.