Change Can Make Change Easy

Change is hard. The bigger the change, the harder it gets. Remember that time when you decided “I’m going to wake up at 5 and work on this problem” but you ended up sleeping till your usual 9AM time? “I’m going to try waking up 15 minutes earlier and increase it every few days”, said no one ever. Despite the fact that we all know just how hard drastic changes can be. That plan to eat healthy, all of a sudden? Nope, it couldn’t work and it didn’t work. That plan to exercise every day even though it’s been months since you last stepped into the field? Nope. Conventional wisdom has always been about taking small steps in the right direction. But despite all of the intuitive sense in the wisdom, we optimistic fools think that tackling an issue head on is the single most effective way.

Yet, I have realised that one major change can make other changes easier to happen and stick. Sometimes it takes a change to cause the changes you have always desired. Passing out of college was that change for me.

For last 7 years I have lived a lifestyle that had me staying up till 4–5AM and getting up around 8–9AM on weekdays. On weekends, I would crash. 10–12 hours sleep to make up for the sleep debt. It wasn’t this acute throughout the 7 years. But during the 4 years of college it pretty much was. It wasn’t healthy, I knew it, but I did it anyway.

Many wiser folks than me have written about working in the zone. For coders, the need to be in zone gets magnified even more. Now if you have classes from 8AM to 6PM, every weekday, when are you supposed to learn things on your own? I hardly learnt anything in class. Major chunk of it happened for me outside of class. So I stayed up late, crashing on weekends to make up for it. The 3–4 solid hours of distraction free, quiet time was addictive, and the reason I could be involved in 3 different campus groups, despite a hectic schedule of classes. While in college, I gave up my freedom for 10 awake hours. Daily.

I tried many times, in vain, to change the schedule. Stuck between balancing a humane schedule and experiencing college, I could never fix it. But then college ended. And magically everything fell into place. For the last one month I have been going to bed around 12AM, waking up around 7–8AM, working out for an hour, having a healthy breakfast, and getting down to work while some of my colleagues stuck with their college schedule. The major change of end of college made these changes easier for me. And it has never been this easy for me to get in the fabled zone. And never been this easy to focus, either. All of this, thanks to a major change, end of college. My time’s mine again.

About Shashank Mehta:

Heading product for RazorpayX, building the future of business banking. Early bird (#7) at @Razorpay. Forever hoarse throat thanks to ManUtd.

Follow me on twitter. I don't tweet a lot though. Bummer, right?