Or- Living life behind enemy lines.
Last week I focused on the BDR, the Basic Daily Routine, the little things you do every day before your day really begins and after your day ends.
But what about once you actually get to work?
It can be useful to look at stepping out of your front door, or into your home office (to a lesser extent) as leaving friendly lines on a combat patrol.
(Again, unless you have small children) you have pretty good control over the things that happen in your home. But, once you depart friendly lines you are in enemy territory.
“Enemy occupied territory is what the world is.” - C. S. Lewis
I don’t mean to say that you are in physical danger, but according to Prussian General and military theorist, Carl Von Clausewitz, “War is a "clash of opposing wills characterized by friction, uncertainty, fluidity, and disorder… “
That sounds a lot like my average workday, and I suspect, yours.
Our carefully laid plans are now subject to Murphy’s law.
You get to the gym to find all of the squat racks taken.
You have a ton of work to do, but a coworker wants to talk about their weekend.
You brought in healthy snacks, but someone made chocolate chip cookies and left the plate near your desk.
Just as you buckle down someone rushes in with an emergency that only you can take care of.
You prepped a healthy lunch, but your boss asks you to join them for pizza.
When we need a (relatively) safe place to work in bad guy land we establish a 'Patrol Base'
A patrol base, (PB) is a security perimeter that is set up when a squad or platoon on patrol halts for an extended period.
The PB establishes a bubble of security around us while we take care of our Priorities of Work.
The basic acronym for establishing a patrol base is S.A.F.E.
Security- In a PB we have a platoon of Marines around us.
If you can, surround yourself with good people. People who have the same goals as you. If you can’t do that, at least with people who are positive.
Nobody needs a negative Nelly in the PB.
We can also establish a good security posture by blocking off time for critical tasks and deep work.
Automatic weapons- Point the big guns at the biggest threat. Each machine gun is assigned a Principal Direction of Fire or PDF to cover a likely avenue of approach.
Know your PDF. Keep the main thing the main thing by focusing on the most difficult tasks when you are at your best. If you work best in the morning, don’t waste that time on email and idle chit-chat.
Fields of Fire- In the PB our fire plan sketch delineates each person’s area of responsibility. This makes sure every danger-area is covered. Then, we clear the area out to ensure the enemy can’t sneak in close without us seeing them.
For our purpose, we can use the Eisenhower matrix below to ensure that the urgent but unimportant tasks are cleared out so that they don’t sneak up and bite us.
Entrenching- If I’m being honest, we usually avoid digging in unless absolutely necessary.
Digging is really noisy and can alert the enemy to your position.
This is usually good advice. Don’t get so entrenched in one way of doing things that you are unwilling to move on if the situation warrants it. Hold strong opinions loosely.
Obviously, there are times to dig in. When you do, dig deep and hold the line. Or as Thomas Jefferson said,
In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Next week we’ll keep beating this analogy to death.
Read. Organize Tomorrow Today by Jason Selk & Tom Bartow
My big takeaway from this book was prepping for the following day and deciding on three important and one ‘must-do’. (what we call priorities of work)
I have previously mentioned my love of the Carpe Diem poem, so here is one for you.
A Thousand Reasons
A thousand reasons prevent the start
Many thousand more lie along the path
Reasons attack reason with doubt and dart
With pleas of please or promise of wrath.
Once set out, the loud cries fade
Lingering doubt now in ambush waits
Prepared to pounce when pause is made
Quiet questioning echoes in dire straits.
The strong wax their ears against the siren’s song
While the weak succumb to wander eternal night
The steadfast continue the climb steep, and long
Handhold to foothold till crest brings dawn and light.
From the promontory greet the rising sun
Yet know that you and it are far apart
You’ll cross countless chasms before you’re done
And a thousand reasons try to prevent each start.
Words of wisdom from those who said it best.
“The noise of the urgent creates the illusion of importance.” -Steven Covey
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ― Abraham Lincoln
“Opportunity does not waste time with those who are unprepared.”
― Idowu Koyenikan
“All things are ready, if our mind be so.” ― William Shakespeare
Thanks for reading. See you next Thursday!