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Get Battle Rhythm When You Get the Blues
-Or "Opportunities multiply as they are seized." - Sun Tzu
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I’ve got some exciting news. Based on feedback I’ve received from readers about the rucking-related posts I have written, in the not-too-distant future (Jan 2024) I will be launching a new and separate substack newsletter titled R.T.F.U. or Ruck The F*ck Up. This will be a bit coarser than T.R.W.R. and will focus on the concepts of rucking for fitness, building mental toughness, all things leadership, and skills development lessons learned in my thirty-five years of experience serving in special operations units and training those who still do. You will be able to receive either or both of these newsletters. More to follow.
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Last week we talked about engaging the idea of organization through subtraction by refusing to get sucked into the unimportant— Ignoring the alligators that don’t threaten the progress of your boat.
By eliminating the unimportant we are left with more time to focus on paddling our own canoe towards our destination.
Once the unimportant has been eliminated the next step is to prioritize and organize what’s left. A great way to do this is by establishing what we call in the military a ‘battle rhythm.’
According to the Marine Corps Marine Air Ground Task Force Staff Planning Program, a battle rhythm is the “Process where the commander and staff synchronize the daily operating tempo within the planning, decision, execution, and assessment (PDE&A) cycle to allow the commander to make timely decisions…”
In this case, you are the commander of your canoe, or in the words of Mr. Earnest Henley, “the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.”
If you are anything like me, that doesn’t mean that you have complete control over your schedule, but we shouldn’t let that stop us from doing our damnedest to maximize the control we do have.
To begin developing your battle rhythm:
Identify recurring tasks and their frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
Use the Eisenhower Matrix to classify by importance and urgency.
Determine if the task can be omitted, automated, or outsourced.
For all remaining tasks, determine the best time to complete them based on priority, preference, and criticality.
Place prioritized events onto your battle rhythm calendar. A battle rhythm won’t prevent emergencies, but as Annie Dillard said,
“A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.”
There are endless ways to depict your battle rhythm. The best method is the one you will keep updated and use religiously.
As Steven Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
Next week we are going to focus on the morning routine.
Read. Fall’s Cadence
I recently came across Jessica’s substack and hope you will check it out.
Also Read. Diving With Ghosts – Salvation South
by Russell Worth Parker
This incredible essay was written by my dive buddy, Russell Worth Parker about our trip to Guam to dive with the National Park Service Submerged Resources Unit. Please give it a read.
Your prompt this week is to spend some time tracking your daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly must-dos. Look for opportunities to omit and automate tasks if possible and if not, put them into your battle rhythm.
I’d love to hear about how it goes.
Words of wisdom from those who said it best.
— Miyamoto Musashi
“In a battle of martial arts, victory is in knowing the rhythms of your various opponents, in using a rhythm your opponent will be unable to grasp, and in developing a rhythm of emptiness rather than one of wisdom.”
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See you next Thursday!