SDS 170: Tips for a Bumpy Ride

SDS 170: Tips for a Bumpy Ride

In sports, you need a coach to win. So, why not have one in your own life? On today’s FiveMinuteFriday episode, I will share with you a bumpy ride on how my coaches’ valuable tips have changed my philosophy on meeting weekly and daily goals.

I can’t even count the times how much I have stressed in the earlier episodes of Super Data Science Podcast, how important having a mentor is. I’m very thankful for how they affected me positively.

But for today, we won’t be talking about the mentors. Better, I want to share with you the wonderful benefits of coaching, which is kind of similar to mentoring.

So, what is coaching? And how is it similar to mentoring?

You get the same guidance and benefits from your mentors and coaches. Both could improve your behavior and performance in your career and personal life. Your mentor can be a person you know or you don’t know. For your coach, you have to know them and meet them personally.

I had a coach before but I didn’t see any progress so I stopped seeing him. It was a different experience when I shifted to a new coach. I meet him several times for a month. Each meeting lasts only for 30 minutes or so but I get the most out of it and I feel that I’m going in the right direction.

My coach has changed my philosophy on how to plan my days and weeks. I used to believe that if every single day of my week is successful, then the week is successful. It was problematic. What if one of the days is very terrible and has not turned out to what you’re expecting? You’ll get upset for the day, and the next day, and for the rest of the week. It’s risky.

I started looking at the bigger picture. It’s important to set the goals for the week, and then your daily goals will follow. Every single day doesn’t have to have a  definitive goal. Leave buffers. Don’t make it too jam-packed. In this set-up, if something goes wrong, you can catch-up on the next day. Take note of the top 3 things you could accomplish for the week and don’t get stressed about it.

So remember that you can have a bad day but it’s very unlikely you’ll have a bad week!

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Hello and welcome back to the Super Data Science podcast. This is five minute Friday and today the topic is a bumpy ride.
Just recently, I was flying on a plane from one island on the [commerce 00:00:16] to another and it was one of those tiny little things with a lot of people jam packed into it. By the way, if you're watching this in video version on YouTube, we're going to throw in some clips from this experience, so you can get a feel for what it's like getting onto that plane and lifting off, and flying, what the scenery is like and just get a feeling of what it's like to be in one of those things.

The thing is, it's a tiny little plane. It's very quick because the distance isn't that far. It takes off, around 15 minutes later, it already lands, and it's just how people get around there so getting from one island to the other ... There's four islands in total. Very commonly they use planes for that.

The thing is, while it's very exciting and the scenery's great, it's a really fun ride, at the same time, because it's a small plane, it experiences quite a bit of turbulence so it is kind of like a real life rollercoaster, and that ties in quite well with today's topic which is a bumpy ride.

Before I decrypt this topic, lets talk a bit about what we've already mentioned before and that is the importance of mentorship. We've had ... I made a Friday episode about mentors and you have actually met two of my mentors already, so you've met Richard Hopkins. He was on one of the earlier episodes of this podcast, and he was also [inaudible 00:01:28] last year and you have also met with [Tally 00:01:34] [Dolgoff 00:01:34] who was on one of the more recent episodes of the show and will be coming to Data Science Go this year, so you'll get to meet him in person there.

Those are my mentors but in addition to mentors, sometimes you can also have coaches. So what is a coach? A coach is a person like a mentor but you pay for their advice. You pay for their tips and guidance. I also have a coach. I just started this engagement. I started having a coach like a year ago. I wasn't happy with the program so I stopped that, and now I restarted it again with a new coach about a couple months ago, and I'm very happy with the advice, tips and guidance that he's providing me. We meet up for about 30 minutes, several times a month and all these tips are very, very valuable and help me direct whether it's my business, personal life, professional, other areas of life, in the right direction.

Why am I bringing this up? First of all, I wanted to share what coaching is all about and that it is quite important. It's another way of getting guidance like in sports you can have a coach. Why not have one in life? The other thing is that content for this [inaudible 00:02:50] or the idea behind this episode actually comes from my coach, and we were discussing once, like a few weeks ago, the how to plan your days and weeks, and specifically talking about setting goals for a day, and setting goals for a week, and my philosophy has always been that alright, so if I set my goals for every single day of the coming week ... Let's say it's Sunday. I set my goals for every single day. Now I don't do that all too often, but when I really want to plan out my week, I will set my goals for every single day of the week, and I thought, okay. If every single days going to be successful, then by definition, my week is going to be successful.

But he challenged me on that and said, "Hey. What about if one of your days is not successful? For instance, Tuesday is not a successful day. It's a bad day because you were stuck in a traffic jam, you had a cold, or you couldn't get to things you wanted to because something else was more important or got in the way, what happens then?" Well, when you think about what happens then, that throws your whole day off. You're upset at the end of the day, or you're not feeling as accomplished at the end of the day and that might give you a bad mood the next day, and also those things that you planned for Tuesday might be important, probably are very important, and they're going to trickle into Wednesday but you already have your own goals for Wednesday and that's going to compound and you might even have a bad Wednesday because of that, and then it's going to compound into Thursday and so on.
So that can be a risky situation, and so that is where he said, it's actually more important to set your goals for the week first and then set your daily goals. Why is that? Well, because that way, you see the bigger picture. You see what's, lets say, top three things you want to accomplish by the end of the week and then you can slot them into different days, you can add other things, but you'll have the bigger picture in mind so in some places, you might leave buffer, so you know where things might go wrong, or you might just not jam pack too many things, that way if things just fly over into a new day or you have to reshuffle them, you will have that availability. You will have that time to accommodate.

Also, if something goes wrong in a day ... And this is the key. What he said is that, if something goes wrong in a day, you still know that you can accomplish it, you can catch up on the following day or you have three more days to catch up on that and overall the week is going to be great, and so, and this is the key, what he said, from all this, is that you can have a bad day, but you can't have a bad week.

I know in theory, that's not true. You probably can have a whole bad week but it's much, much harder to have a bad week, than a bad day. So let's rephrase that. You can have a bad day, but it's very unlikely that you're going to have a bad week, and if you keep that in mind, then all of sudden, things change. Right? Rather than be stressed about not getting things done in any given single day, you know that you have a whole week to get things done and it is very unlikely that you're going to be stuck in a traffic jam five days in a row. If that's the case, then maybe, it's time to look into how you get to work and back, or the specific timeline of your days, but it's unlikely that things will come up that will disrupt your schedule every single day, and that way, you know that you, even though if one day it goes off a bit, you're not going to be upset, and it's not going to throw away your whole week because you know you'll be able to get up to speed with that.

So that's my tip from my coach for you today. When you're planning out your next week this weekend, or maybe you do that on a Monday, when you're planning out your next week, think of that. So rather than planning out every single day, if you have that habit, try to think, alright. What am I going to accomplish this week? What are the top three things that I'm going to accomplish by the end of the week and once you have those, then, dive deeper and put them into every single day when you're going to work on each one of those.

Hopefully that's going to help you out and I can't wait to see you back here next time. Until then, happy analyzing.

Kirill Eremenko
Kirill Eremenko

I’m a Data Scientist and Entrepreneur. I also teach Data Science Online and host the SDS podcast where I interview some of the most inspiring Data Scientists from all around the world. I am passionate about bringing Data Science and Analytics to the world!

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