NUS: I will remember(XVI) the R15 system..

Now, this one is a newbie. This one popped up right at the end and has changed a heck of a lot in my final few months here.

How did this begin?

My mentor called me up in August last year and said I will try and do 5 tasks in a day for 5 days this week i.e. 25 in total. Now, the interesting part was that each point would be worth 10 dollars. So, if he didn’t finish a task – the 10 dollars would come to me..

‘Why don’t you just be my ‘boss’ and check on me?’ – he said. And so, it began. Soon, this system got better and better where we soon integrated lots of other tasks that needed to be done, made it 10 tasks a day @ 5 dollars each. The system got better and better and soon, I began to see the benefits. Further inspired by the book called ‘You don’t have to born brilliant’, I decided that it was time to get organized..

Why did I wait 5 months?

-> I had always subscribed to the ‘go with the flow’ ideal.
-> I thought being organized meant being boring..
-> I always felt life would be like clock-work..
-> Would I have time for leisure?

The R15 System I use:

So, I tentatively began with a close friend as my ‘boss’. I’ll run straight into the system that I use now (this is an evolved version)..

I have a target of 10 points every weekday between Monday and Friday. 50 points and 50 dollars at stake, so for every point short, I basically lose a dollar to my friend. (Technically technically, I lose 50 cents and 50 cents gets into a bonus container which accumulates and is used to pay out for great performance eg: exceeding my 50 point target)

I split this is 6+4/7+3 P, PC tasks.

P or Production i.e. all tasks that involve work during the day. For eg: classes during semester. Attending a 1 hour class = 1point, 2 hr class 2 points. Doing an assignment = 1 pt etc.

PC or Production capability i.e. tasks for the future. My PC tasks typically are 30 min book reading, tri-weekly emails to family, daily fruit and vegetable, sports etc.

I started with a few additions that helped greatly. For example, I was notorious for breaking small commitments. So, every time I missed an appointment, I gave myself a -1. This greatly reduced the number of times I broke commitments, and also made me think twice before saying ‘Yes, I’ll do/make it!’. I’ve figured out that pain works much better than incentive. So, if something has to get done, then it’ll work best with a -2 rather than with a +5. We humans hate the thought of losing..

So, I basically start the week with a plan for the week which blocks all appointments. Then every day, I plan out the points pool (of 13-14 potential points for the next day) and then try and get as many. There are a few small rules – for example, some times tasks can take 5-6 hours and it is very tempting to have +5 or +6 allotted every day to these crises. So, I have a 5 point limit for a crisis.

Another thing that helps is picking 3 WIG/ wildly important goals and giving them 2 points each.

Thoughts after using it for 4 months:

The results have been wondrous. The amount of real leisure time I have on my hands as a result of this always tends to amaze me. The funny point about getting more organized is that very few things hog bandwidth because there are fewer crises. Besides, everything has a box. For example, I’ve been able to sustain weekly lunch appointments with a friend, something that would have been outside my capability level a semester ago. It’s not the big things that have changed, rather, it’s the small things like keeping those small commitments..

This post barely does enough justice to the system. And I’d be happy to explain it in detail to anyone interested in implementing it(There are already 2 friends who are on it now..haha). It can be done in small bits – for example, 2 other friends have a mutual deal where they have 4 dollars at stake for 2 hours of exercise during the week. Money is the best pain container because we HATE losing money. So, generally things get done. It helps build discipline.. which, in many ways, is character building because our word/honor soon tends to subordinate our moods..

This R15 system has changed a lot these past months. I intend to continue using it once work begins. At the most basic level, it makes me plan the week ahead, plan tomorrow’s work today and makes sure I’m not losing sight of the important things..

Most importantly, it’s helped me become more disciplined. Now, who would’ve thunk?

6 days to go..