You’ve heard there’s no time like the present. That’s a cliché we have become so used to that we take it for granted. Start NOW! Why now? Why not?
Let’s take the first instance–Now. Now is a great time to make the commitment. What that does is to begin the journey. When you make that commitment to not just dip your toe in, you start a process.
Now you look at what you’re trying to accomplish and set your deadline. We’re not talking about a vague deadline like “sometime before my kids get too old,” or “when I get my bonus,” or “when these circumstances change.” That is not specific enough and the timeline will have no meaning. There are too many variables.
Let me wander a bit. I was doing a research project for a predictive graph relating to innovation in the market. The article I was reading was quite compelling! The writer’s premise was this: When someone explores advanced communication devices, they have to do all the work in the technology, the hardware, the software, the applications, etc. After the debut, many other companies or countries jump on the bandwagon, and each will make some adjustment that will make the project more efficient, with cleaner lines, or more powerful. How fast do they approach the innovator’s market share?
The writer then provided graphs to prove his point. He included some basic data points, then kept adding and adding. When he was done, the statistical error of the graph was approaching five percent. This meant that the correlation between the causes and effects could be off by 5% either above or below the predicted value. Consequently, when the difference between the innovator and his first competitor was two percent, the error percentage nullified his hypothesis. He had too much information–too many variables–and the graph had no predictive value at all.
When there are too many variables, you cannot set a specific time, and that affects how much time will be allotted for your learning project. You’re setting yourself up for failure.
Now is a good time to decide on a project and to make a commitment to yourself.
Now is NOT a good time to start the project if you have no idea how long it will take to actually accomplish what you wish to accomplish. Now is NOT a good time if you do not know what materials you will need, how long they take to ship, and when they are available. What if your supplier is under lockdown and cannot get workers to come in and make the materials? What if the book is out of print? What if it takes specialized equipment and you have no idea where to get it? Now is a questionable decision if you cannot carve out the time to consistently work on your project. (Consistency is critical for any learning project!)
By all means, commit to a change, to an expansion of your knowledge, to the acquisition of a new skill or perspective. Do that NOW.
THEN, do your research. What do you need? How long does it take? What prerequisites do I need to fulfill to begin this project? Then you can plan an end date and work backward to set your beginning date. That way when you START your process–when you START to learn, your progress is mappable! Then if you run into snags (and you will) and interruptions (and you will) you still know that there is an endpoint and you’ve planned for all these contingencies. You don’t have to give up on your project because “now you can’t possibly reach your deadline” due to the fact that you know how much time you will need and can make adjustments.
I will show you how to figure out a timeline and how to gauge the length of time this process will take. There’s no time like…