Designing training wheel systems

I love the idea of training wheels. They ease first-time bikers/cyclists into learning biking/cycling and the riders and save their parents a lot of stress.

We see training wheel systems in our life as well – in school, regular tests and assignments are the equivalent of training wheels before exams and, at work, check-ins and 1-to-1’s are the equivalent of training wheels before the big presentations. Folks who do generally do well in tests and assignments generally end up doing well in exams and the same goes for work.

We can proactively create training wheel systems for our life too. An example training wheel system I ran for almost 2 years was to keep my phone time 5 minutes ahead of local time. I had discovered a worrying trend a couple of years back – I seemed to be a minute or two late to meetings a tad too frequently. I don’t like to be kept waiting. So, I used to wait till the very last minute before wrapping up and heading to the meeting. This, in turn, was always stressful. I’d wrap up in a hurry and rush to get to the meeting on time. To stop it, I just decided to try a small brain hack and add 5 minutes to local time. It worked like a charm. A few days ago, I realized that the Google Authenticator app (for two-factor authentication) doesn’t function unless you’re on local time. So, with great trepidation, I decided to take my training wheels off and switch back to local time. This is one of the difficulties of training wheels – you do tend to find it hard to take them off.

The results? I’ve been on time to all my meetings in the past week – so they worked well. I’m enjoying biking without them now.

Another training wheel system is one I mentioned in yesterday’s post – the idea of reading news and email as a way of making sure I wake up when my alarm goes around 530am. Waking up early is important to me and I’ve struggled with the snooze button for nearly 2 years. Cue – a training wheel. I don’t want to be reading news and email first thing in the morning for the rest of my life. But, I’d like to get to a point when I just stop using the snooze button.

Here’s to more training wheel systems!