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The Tyranny of Busyness

George Grombacher October 2, 2023

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The Tyranny of Busyness

Is busyness a good or bad thing? Is it possible for time to go both fast and slow? George talks about how what you want is closer than you think, but could take longer than you like.

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Episode Transcript

What is the slowest that time ever passed for you just felt like standing still, but it was not moving. And you look at the clock, you’re like, oh my gosh, how in the world and only two minutes elapsed. For me, it was ninth grade chemistry class. That is literally the slowest The time has ever passed for me. The last time I probably certainly the last time it took chemistry class. And I’m sure that going back and looking back on that it was probably super easy, but it was equal parts. A mystery to me and equal parts, just the most boring thing that I probably ever experienced. Sorry, Mr. Johnson, I apologize. I would sit with my friend Halima. And she was also not a chemist. And we would just be like looking at each other like, oh my gosh, this is the most painful thing that we’ve both ever experienced. How in the world? Are we going to pass this class? And how are we going to survive this hour? That we must say, and I can’t remember if it was just before lunch, or if it was after what time of day it was. I just remember it was pretty terrible. And, again, not the fault of of Mr. Johnson, nor was the fault of chemistry. The blame goes squarely on my shoulders just not the stage in my life that I was interested in. Now. If I were to enroll in a chemistry class today, would it be any different I can’t imagine that it would be so when does time go fastest? When does time go fastest? And if it’s around that same talk about just being a kid. Probably when I was at a waterpark, just bliss going down water slides. Oh my gosh, I still love water parks. You know the whole pee in the pool thing aside, I still do like water parks a lot. Anyway, it’s probably that’s the fastest The time has gone for me. It’s in a waterpark. Do you know the poned back of time, I’ll share it with you now. Imagine there’s a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400 carries over no balance from day to day every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent of course, each of us has a bank. Each of us has such a bank, its name is time, every month and it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off as lost whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains the day if you fail to use today’s deposits, the loss is yours. There’s no going back there’s no drawing against the tomorrow, you must live in the present on today’s deposits invested as to get from it the utmost and health happiness and success the clock is running. Make the most of today always enjoyed that. We’ve all got the same 24 hour day. And which is groundbreaking I know all got the same amount of time to be allocated same 86,000 or so seconds. And it’s really our perspective on it that matters on how we feel about more think about in view, time in our lives. So for you right now. What’s the value? What what value do you place on five minutes to place a high value on five minutes? Average value low? What about 20 minutes, I seem to be able to accomplish or think that I can accomplish most any task in 20 minutes, I can arrive at a distant location from my current one in about 20 minutes. I can get lots of work around the house done in 20 minutes, you get the idea? What about an hour? What do you place the value of an hour to be? How much value do you place on an hour. And that same 520 minutes or 60 minutes is the same in the morning for you as it is in the evening. Interesting to consider mornings. That five minutes that 20 minutes that hour, way more valuable than the evening. So it turns out I’m a morning person. Just seems like there’s a lot more to get done. But that’s the way that I’m viewing it and that’s the way that I’m sensually structuring activities and stuff that must be done. Seems like there’s a lot of things to get done a lot of moving parts that happened in the morning. So that’s just my perception of it. What about this? Is it possible to Go fast and slow at the same time. Have you ever thought about that? We certainly have thanks to Daniel Kahneman, a fast and slow element to our brains. The fast part of our brain is that initial knee jerk response that we get when we’re given some kind of a stimulus stimuli. And then the slow part of our brain is the logical, more reasoned, thinking part of our brain. Give me a minute to think about that. I’ll sleep on it come back to you. So we’re in a hurry, can we still be moving slowly? I don’t know. When you’re moving really slowly? Can you still be in a hurry? All these things? Words, when I think about that, is it possible to be fast and slow, at the same time, can time be moving fast and slow? At the same time? I think about intention, living intentionally, I think about being deliberate with my actions and my thinking, doing things that are meaningful and purposeful. So main reality is that life moves both fast and slow. Being a parent has taught me that long days, and short years are very much a thing. As a new parent, you are managing a baby. It is never ending day back in chemistry class, for sure. And you get a little bit of space. And you realize and recognize, oh, my gosh, Time passes so fast these years of show so short. For me, it’s looking at other people’s kids that I don’t see every day. It’s like, oh, my gosh, look at how giant that tiny that one’s tiny human being is now an absolute giant. And obviously, as somebody my 40s, my perception of time and its passage has certainly changed. And it certainly changes a lot. So is my thinking I’m being busy. Yeah, somebody how they’re doing. How are you all busy, busy, so busy. And then there’s the whole, I’m busy, but good. And I think that that’s probably most of us, like most of us are busy. Because you’re probably somebody with a lot of interests, and a lot of, for lack of a better term demands on your time, demands on your energy demands on your resources, to hopefully you’re busy but good. It’s just an interesting thing. It’s interesting. It’s one of those things like, like, Am I just saying that? Or do I really think in mean that I’m so busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy? Is that because I want people to think that I’m, like doing important things? I say that, through so many things. That’s the whole fast and slow part of our brain, right? The knee jerk responses, I’m busy. I’m great. There’s a million reasons that we give that answer. But as somebody with a lot of interests as I am, again, as I’m sure that you are, too I am an active person. How about that for a reframe? I mean, there’s this never ending list of stuff for you and I to do. That I tried to put successfully I tried to be mindful, it’s hard to be thoughtful of how I’m allocating time, attention, resources, energy too. And I also recognize that there are diminishing returns, when it comes to those things. I have the same amount of time as you do, I have the ability to increase my energy level by having a healthy lifestyle and being active and getting stronger and eating good healthy foods. But at some point, I cannot continue to add new things to my plate to make myself busier, I cannot give myself more tasks. If my time which is finite, I do have the ability to increase my energy level, potentially, I can become a better, more effective thinker. So I have the ability to increase my bandwidth there. But in terms of time, there’s no way that I can get more of that as the poem was talking about. So But the same goes, if you want something done, give it to a busy person. So it’s just very, very, it’s a natural thing, as somebody who is capable of doing things, to think that you can continue to do more things. And maybe you can’t maybe there is maybe you have not scratched the surface or there is no limit to the amount of things that you can accomplish or you can get done in a daily in a 24 hour period. But at some point, I think that we’re all going to run into those diminishing returns and everything will begin to suffer. And then we will experience burnout as it is on the tips of many people’s tongues these days, which is a good thing and mental health struggles and everything else.

So instead of being thoughtful about it What we’ve been talking about just now, how am I utilizing my time? How am I thinking about my time? How am I thinking about being busy? How am I thinking about? Can I add more stuff? Can I pile more stuff on without, you know, being that eventual feathered that breaks the camel’s back? We’re all faced with a choice. So what can we do, I can increase my my energy level, increase my level of attention, or my ability to process more information, or, or I can simply say, I’m going to put boundaries around, really the amount of time that I give myself to complete certain activities. That’s what I found, I need to put boundaries, I need to put structure around it. Otherwise, I will run right over that keep doing things. So what do I mean? I mean, there’s just going to be times where I need to make sure that I’m doing certain things which will make which will make it impossible for me to be doing other things during those times. So just a couple of examples, perhaps. And this is something that somebody very close to me has recently done is she has begun making sure that she is blocking in time for exercise on a daily basis. And she does it at the same time. So if not for that, then she probably just wouldn’t do it. And it can be that we’re stopping doing all things at a certain time, I’m doing a really bad job of explaining this. The whole thing is, if you want something done, give it to a busy person, it’s true to a point until you do run into that level of diminishing returns, where you’re just not getting the level of happiness or satisfaction that you want out of your life. And a fascinating thing happens oftentimes, is that when you do start putting governors or boundaries around how you’re using time, let’s just say that instead of working 60 hours a week, you make the decision to work 50 hours a week, and then you make the decision to work 40 hours a week. And my anecdotal experience with that, as well as hearing the anecdotal and there’s probably scientific research on this as well. But I have not looked at that. Just I know, again, anecdotally from myself and many others, that when you do exactly as I just described, cut, you’re working your window of work on a weekly basis from 60 hours to 50 to 40, whatever it might be, you start to get a lot more done. So it is literally addition by subtraction. So I believe that it helps you to focus on what is actually really important. And to somehow delegate or get rid of completely, a lot of the stuff that you were doing and keeping you busy, but good. And will help you to actually do the things that are most important. I think that’s probably essentialism in there somewhere or some other ideas. That’s not really necessarily what I’m talking about or what I’m pushing you to do. Then, as always, I’m not interested in putting my values on you, I want you to think about what’s most important to you, and then put your own values on you. I think that the life that we all want is a lot closer than we think what we want is closer than we think. But more often than not, it’s going to actually take longer than we want. It’s closer than you think. But it’s going to take longer than you want just like it’s possible to go both fast and slow at the same time. It’s closer than you think. But it might take longer than you want. It is possibly it’s very possible to be fully present in what you’re doing while executing on a long term plan. Perhaps that’s the best way to sum up that idea to be working deliberately, on a daily basis in service of something that will not take form for potentially many, many years. And that’s really, really important thing that you need to have a plan for whatever it is that is important in your life. You must make a plan to think that it’s going to just magically happen on its own I think is is incorrect. It’s a folly. It’s it’s an incorrect folly. You think about if you don’t have a plan, that’s just time passing time is just passing us by without goals, then we’re just wandering around aimlessly. And while sometimes wandering aimlessly is a value, as long as we’re doing in the time that we’ve allocated to wander aimlessly, then then I think it’s a it’s a positive for good thing. So in the spirit of it closer than you think, but it’s probably going to take longer than you want. From the Strategic Coach Dan Sullivan’s program, he has the R factor question or one versus Three, the idea being that we as human beings think that we can accomplish a lot more than a year than we actually can. And we can accomplish, we can actually, we over estimate will we get done in a year and underestimate will be collected on what we can get done in three years. Sometimes people say five years. That’s really true. So you think about it. Okay. What can I get done in a year? A lot, you can get a lot done in a year, I usually use the example of losing 100 pounds, could you lose 100 pounds in a year? Maybe? Could you do it in three years? Most certainly. Could you be completely debt free in a year? Maybe? Could you be completely debt free in three years, certainly. So when you frame it like that, in that context, I think it is a really encouraging thing, your life could be completely different. Three years from now, after one year, you’ll be on track and you’ll be on path to do that, put in three, you can execute and have have really completed so many different things. From a goal setting standpoint, I spent a lot of time thinking and talking about this. But in service of that we have on money Lamin got a free goals course a free Gallup values course. For you to check out if you want to get a little bit more specific on this stuff, can also check out the purpose book, which is available. And I’ll put that in the comments as well. And believe it or not, it’s designed to help you find your purpose. And get clear on your goals, your beliefs, your values, and then marry your habits to it. So essentially, what I’ve been talking about doing is what is contained in that book, so but it’s all stuff you can do on your own. So you don’t need to buy my book to become more intentional about what you’re thinking and how it is that you’re allocating your time and make sure that you are not just piling on more stuff for the sake of piling on more stuff because at some point, you will reach that threshold of diminishing returns and your work and your life will probably begin to suffer a little bit until you realize oh, I am a little too busy here. I’ve got too many interests. And I need to refine and reprioritize how it is that I’m spending my time. Go faster, slowest, same time it’s closer than you think but it might take longer than you want. Do your part by doing your best

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