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How Doers Get More Done

George Grombacher July 28, 2023

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How Doers Get More Done

Have you ever wondered how doers get more done? How are some people able to do way more than other people? There’s good news; you can do it too. 

George talks about why you should care, how to start doing it, and how to keep doing it. 


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George Grombacher

Episode Transcript

Your sleep through your alarm, you know that peak feeling of just pure panic sheer panic, you wake up, it’s laid out, like, oh my gosh, what time is it, you look at your alarm, and it’s, you know, seven o’clock or 630 or whatever,

Unknown Speaker 0:17
like, oh my gosh,

george grombacher 0:18
I just slept through my alarm, I gotta go, I gotta go, I’m gonna be late. anxiety, stress, panic, all these things, surge through your body and it, it sparks you into action, you’re out of bed, you’re going through your normal routine, you’re just going through it really, really, really quickly. Sure, you might cut some things out, trim the fat, a little bit on everything that you normally like to do all the normal aspects of your morning routine, but you still get everything done, you still probably get out of the door on time, so on and so forth. Well, the whole phenomenon there is attributable to Parkinson’s Law. And Parkinson’s Law says is that work will either expand or contract to fill the time available for its completion. So in this example, you have certain things, your work that needs to get done, you need to brush your teeth, shower, shave, get dressed, put something, you know, make coffee, drive to the office, whatever that sequence of events is. And normally, if you get up at six, and you give yourself an hour, hour and a half, you know, it’s more relaxed. But if you wake up at 630, and now you have an hour, instead of 90 minutes, you need to compress everything, you still figure out how to get everything done. So again, work will either expand or contract to fill the amount of time available for its completion. So I’ve always thought that Parkinson’s Law was a pretty interesting thing. And I was thinking about deadlines the other day, and how I think that most people, when you think about a deadline, it’s almost a negative thing. And to some degree, the whole dead deadline has a negative connotation to it. And maybe it makes you think back to homework or schoolwork or big projects that were due. And it’s more negative than it is positive. But I advocate that deadlines are an absolute positive thing. And the more we can become comfortable working under deadlines, the more we can become aware of and create more self imposed deadlines in our lives. That’s nothing but a good thing. And before I go any further, I want you to know that I am not advocating for you to work 24/7 I’m not advocating for non stop hustle, and that you never take a break quite the opposite. I’m advocating that once you figure out how to do more and how to get more done, it will lead to way more freedom, way more enjoyment, way less stress, way less anxiety, and just a better standard of living, better life, more peace of mind, all things, which I think are very positive. And I’m betting guessing, you could use more of. So that’s what I want to talk about. And I want you to get into your head that I’m somebody not me, you, you are somebody who really works well under a deadline. You’re a really efficient person you’re capable of doing whatever you want. And for sure you’re capable of doing more. So not that more is better. But again, once you’re doing what’s really important, you’re doing what matters, that frees you up to do whatever you want. And I think that that’s a super powerful thing. So what’s the point of it? Why does it really matter? Why does it really matter?

Unknown Speaker 4:06
I think that I think that

george grombacher 4:10
most of us, this is me, too. We think that we have all the time in the world. We think that we’ll just do it next week. We’ll do it tomorrow. We’ll do that next quarter. That’s something I’ll start doing next year. And this is true of most of the really important things in our lives, like our our physical health, or diet or exercise programs, our personal finances. These are all things that you say you know what, I’m going to start saving tomorrow. I’m gonna just I’m gonna get in the 401k come January that’s what I’m gonna go on my diet. That’s what I’m going to start doing this. That’s what I’m going to start learning the language or playing guitar or playing tennis or lifting weights, whatever it might be. We are wrong. When it comes to thinking that we have a lot of time there’s really really famous quote, which is attributed to Buddha to the Buddha, whether or not he actually said it or not. But he said, The trouble is you think that you have time. That’s about as profound as it gets right there. Because we always think that we have more time than we actually have. And I know that you intellectually understand what your lifespan is probably going to be and that you intellectually understand that you need to get moving on this stuff. But there’s this behavior gap that exists what between what I intellectually know. And then what I actually do, and how I actually conduct myself. And the more we can close those gaps and eliminate those gaps in our lives, the closer we’re going to get to the lives that we’re actually interested in living. So, Buddha, or Jack Kornfield, the quote is also attributed to him, also a Buddhist, Buddhist thinker, philosopher, travelers, you think you have time, here’s another one that I love. I love love, love, love, love it. It’s a stoic idea. And it is memento mori. And it’s oftentimes related or rather, depicted in the form of a skull in artwork, either drawings, images, or physical representations of a skull. And it’s meant to signify the inevitability, the inevitability of our death of our demise. And the actual translation of momento Mori is, you remember, you must die. Remember, you must die. So morbid. Yes. True. True. So true. So the more we can remind ourselves of that, and we go through our lives, and it’d be great if we could learn from others if we could learn from reading. But all too often we make changes and our perspective shifts in our lives, when we have a personal experience or were impacted by something bad happening. And for me, my brother passed away in really early 2020. So hard to believe, three years, over three years ago now. But that was that was it for me, that was, that was the experience that really hasten things. And obviously, again, I know, like, we only live once I need to Carpe Diem it up and everything else, you know, alone, FOMO, and blah, blah, blah. But my brother’s passing, just it, it drove it home, it helped me to recognize that. And so I think about that, numerous times throughout the course of the day, I think about his death, I think about the finite nature of time, I think about my kids and my family. And I meditate and think about my own death. And that’s another stoic tradition, the meditation on your own death. And it just helps sort of ground you helps bring me back down and ground me into Okay. Let’s just stay focused. Let’s pull back in and remind ourselves to remember what is most important, what are our priorities here? And how can I become just better at doing what matters? That’s fundamentally at? How can I get better do a better job, first and foremost, knowing what is important to me, knowing what matters, and then doing the thing that matters. And I’m not interested in being stressed out. I’m not interested in being anxious or running around with my hair on fire and being a crazy person, not at all. I’m interested in being calm, relaxed, and interested in just getting things done. Getting the important things done. One of the first times in fact, the first time I ever learned about Parkinson’s Law was probably 1415 years ago, and somebody was giving a presentation. And they got this great big glass bowl. And they had a smaller container, a container golf balls, and then a big container of rice. And they started out the whole idea was how do we make it all fit? Then it’s perfect metaphor for life. How do we make everything fit that we want to make fit into our lives? And so he starts out by dumping the rice into the bowl. So he dumps the rice into the bowl. And then he grabs the container with the golf balls and dumps them into the bowl. And there wasn’t enough room, it didn’t all fit. And so some of the golf balls kind of bounced off onto the table and rolled on the floor and everything else. And then he reset. So he puts the rice back in the rice container, he puts the golf balls back in the golf ball container. And he does the opposite. So he puts the golf balls in first. And then he pours the rice over and the rice found its way it found its way into the openings found this way, just into the container, and it all fit. So you have to put you have to put first things first. That is that is the the moral of that story. And again, it’s Parkinson’s Law to illustrate that, that you need to do the most important things. So fundamentally, do you know what is most important in your life? Do you know what the important things are? And then how can you do a better job of actually doing? What’s important. And again, I want to go back to this is that I’m not advocating constant 100% focus and 100% doing anything like that. But it is and I do advocate for the idea that discipline equals freedom. Thanks to Jocko Willink on that one. So, the idea is, when you know what matters and you do what matters, everything else will fill itself in. And you will have a lot more time to do the things that you want to do. When you’re doing what matters. When you’re focused, you’ll have more time to do what you want. So so how do you do these things, I want to just share a couple of examples of things that I know have worked. I know intellectually that they’ve worked. And I also know that in practice, they work. It is a fascinating reality, a scary reality, disturbing reality that our minds wander about half the time. What do you think about that? Do you think that your mind is wandering half the time. So just simple thing, if you were able to train your brain to be more focused, you would essentially have twice as much time to do the things that you were interested in doing. So and we waste so much time. I know I waste a lot of time. It’s easy to fuck around and mess around and kill time or burn time or waste time or whatever you’re interested in doing. We all do it.

But becoming aware of it. It’s okay to do that. It’s okay to burn time. It’s okay to kill time. It’s okay to waste time. But I don’t want to do that. Just unintentionally. I’m interested in zoning out when I want to zone out but not when I’m trying to get things done. That’s the whole thing here is how can I become more effective, and then do the things and then give myself the ability to mess around or do whatever I want to whenever I want to. That’s that’s kind of what I’m looking for here. So there’s a couple of things that we can do to become more focused. Number one, if you’ve never done a time audit, if you’ve never audited your time, you should do it. I can almost guarantee you’re going to be bothered by what you find out. Oh my gosh, I did so little today, I got very little done. And the average person again, our minds are wandering but we just don’t really get that much done. We don’t really get that much work done. So figuring out for you, you may be way better than me. Highly possible. You may be way better than the average person also highly possible. But also going to find some realities kind of cold water to the face be like oh my gosh, I spent eight hours doing this thing but what did I really actually get done? Yuck, I wasted a ton of time. So figuring out what it is that you want to be doing. Need to want to things that that are fixed. If you are you’re have if you have which I’m sure you do have professional responsibilities and meetings are things that you must be at, block those into your calendar. And I also advocate that you block what you want to do into your calendar. If you want your day to start with exercise, or or you want your day to start with reading or music or whatever. You can do that. Block it into your calendar. One of the things I Started doing when I started writing a couple of years ago, is I will block time to write into my calendar. So if I don’t, then it just doesn’t get done. And whatever I block into my calendar, I honor that. So Cal Newport wrote a book or a paper called deep work. And the idea is super simple. Fundamentally, it’s that multitasking is a fiction, we are not capable of doing it, you can do it, but you’re not going to do it very well. And you are way better served and doing one thing at a time, and focusing and giving 100% of your undivided attention to that one thing. And I call that just honoring, honoring the time that you have allocated to whatever activity that is, so we’ll just stick with writing. So it doesn’t mean that they have an hour a day to do that. But right now, for example, I give myself at least 30 minutes. So I go from eight o’clock in the morning till 830. And I write some days, it’s a little bit more than that. Never is it any less than that. And when I’m doing it, I shut down everything else, I do not allow myself to mess around on the internet, or check email or phones or social media or anything else. So you become more focused, you’re doing deep work in in the one thing you are honoring the time that you have allocated to that, and you are just going from one item to the next on your schedule. So I don’t know if that sounds good to you. If that sounds terrible to you, I don’t know, I think a lot of the time if we’re not used to structure like that we resist it. But what I think what I know for sure is that the most successful people that I know, calendar end the most important things that they must do. And if you’re somebody who feels like you just don’t have time to do that, well, you’re probably somebody who needs to do it more so than anybody else. So deep work, calendaring, things being focused, honoring the commitments that you make to yourself. I mentioned 30 minutes there, there’s something called the Pomodoro Technique, which I also utilize throughout the course of the day. And that’s just where I work for 25 minutes, super focused, uninterrupted work, and then you stop, and you take a break 510 minute break, walk around, mess around, go on social, do whatever you want. So that will allow you to just stay focused, knowing that I’m not just going to be working for eight hours straight here, I am going to have a break. So there’s a lot of positive things that come from that. Which I think you can sort of figure that out. So I have a timer on my phone, I like to as I’m doing deep concentrated work, I have I listened to binaural beats just an app on my phone, which does that it’s a combination of white noise or ambient noise, and then binaural beats whatever those are. And I like that it helps me to do it. But you can set it. So it automatically turns off in 20 minutes, or 25 minutes or 30 minutes. Whatever increment of time you’re interested in doing it. And so I think that that’s a really, really positive thing. So a couple of bottom lines. And some things that are essential, if you’re going to be able to do this, first and foremost, you must believe that your time is valuable. If you don’t think that your time is valuable, then who cares, then you will just waste it. I just have all this time, I’m gonna get rid of it. So in order for this to be effective, in order for you to do more, in less time, you need to be able to or you need to believe that your time is in fact valuable. The second thing is that I think I know that you must believe that your work is valuable, that what you are doing, the impact that you are having or desire to have is important. So again, my time is valuable, what I’m doing is valuable. And then number three is the kind of the reality is that you will be able to do a lot more in less time. Think back to Parkinson’s Law, again, if you are just working if you’re working a 60 hour workweek. And you say you know what, this is no longer sustainable. I need to figure out how to get this done in 40 hours. It’s obviously a dramatic shift. But if you look at your 60 hour workweek and you examine, what am I really doing over the course of these 60 hours. Is that 12 hours a day, for five days a week. Think that it is. So what am I doing for 12 hours a day, every day? Go through the time audit. Look at what you’re doing, how am I organizing? How am I spending my time How am I executing on the things that I want? I can almost guarantee you’ll be able to get the things that your current doing in 60 hours, down to 40 hours. I think that that’s super possible. There are countless examples and stories of people that did that. And then they say, You know what? Let’s make it down to 30 hours. You’ve heard that saying, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. In a lot of ways. That’s really what this is talking about. Because busy people know how to get things done. And I’m not celebrating busyness fact, quite the opposite. I do not like when somebody says, you’re very busy. I’m not very busy. I’m not I have plenty of headspace. I get a lot of things done. And that’s what I want to be. I don’t want to can Busy, busy, stupid, busy, sucks, busy.

Unknown Speaker 20:48
I’m a doer, DOER of things

george grombacher 20:50
I’m a human doing. And I want to be able to do more in less time. That will give me the freedom to do whatever I want. And I bet that’s what you want to. So believe that your time is valuable. Believe that your work is valuable. And embrace the fact that when you get better at these things, you can do a lot more and a lot less time. And that’s freedom that is doing and that is how doers get more done. You do your part by doing your best

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