Today is All Saints’ Day and my birthday. I keep saying that must be a sign.
Joking aside, I’d like to thank Hampton Jones, my employer, for giving employees a day off on their birthday. This gives me a lovely opportunity to slow down and enjoy the day. The slowing down, however, enables a thinking and reflection process, of which I’d like to write about.
After a lovely breakfast made by my 12yr old daughter, I sat down to read my facebook feed and responded to a few birthday wishes. The slow morning also led to me reflecting over sister in law, who I share the same birthday with. She passed away a few days ago, rather unexpectedly without warning signs. Although I have not seen her in years, we have shared a rich past and it’s strange how you can have a good connection even though we have hardly spoken or seen each other. I had my few minutes of crying.
The time off resulted me being able to reflect. Stop the typical daily run. This is what made me in turn think about time, thinking itself, reflections, living a better life and – delivering a better work, solution, outcome.
You cannot go at high speed while watching the landscape and noticing details. Our brain is not made for this.
I have been a scout leader for more than a decade now and one of the things we learnt and what we try and teach the kids is SALADA. This is an acronym for “Stop Assess Listen Allocate Do Assess again”. It is also symbolised by a piece of the brand salada crisp bread that you try and stuff into your mouth in one big piece – which does hardly work – without pain that is. So the lesson from this is also that you need to break it down into chunks to eat it. Just like you have to break down your task into manageable chunks to do them. This aligns with the “Allocate” in SALADA, ie break it up and give your team members jobs.
You learn similar things in first aid. Stop! Check for Dangers (Assess), then listen to others and allocate tasks (ie get help, find an AED etc).
We teach kids and adults that you should not run blindly into a situation, headless. STOP first, take your time, check, listen (do discuss with your team or others), the start doing the job, after everyone is on the same page.
I am teaching the same to my kids. If things go pearshaped, I asked them whether they (stopped and) did their task analysis. Typically not.
What I am trying say is, I guess, you need a certain time to sit down, stop what you are doing and take the time to check first – whatever you are doing. Be it in jobs, at cooking, in relationships or any other type of activity.
Have you ever started a recipe and started doing things step by step without reading the whole recipe first just to find out at step 5 that you should have prepared something along the way, set something aside or that one of the utensils required is missing? Same thing.
Feeding some baby animals with your kids at home requires the same procedure. Daughter: “I mix the milk powder with water and then feed them. Cool, where do you mix it in? Got a bucket? “Ahh, I’ll find one”. Cool, what do you mix it with? “Umm, a spoon?”. Nope, we got a whisk just for that purpose. You know where it is? “No”. How do you make sure the water is the right temperature? “Dunno”. Use that thermometer. And on it goes. Just some examples.