This week in addition to reading The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, I’ve been listening to Marie Condo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up on audible. I know opposite ends of the spectrum, or so I thought. Although I don’t share her enthusiasm for tidying, it had gotten to the point I thought I could solicit some help. Starting with my clothes as Marie suggested, throwing out items that “don’t bring me joy” with a Goodwill box in one hand and a trash bag in the other. Throwing away what you don’t need makes total sense otherwise you’re just trying to reorganize junk.
Then today during some breaks at work I began reading these words of wisdom from Tim Ferriss:
“There are two synergistic approaches for increasing productivity that are inversions of each other:
- Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time (80/20).
- Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s Law).
The best solution is to use both together: Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.”¹
Most of us has heard of the 80/20 rule. But the way Tim breaks it down in his work is with these two questions…
Which 20% of sources are causing 80% of my problems and unhappiness?
Which 20% of sources are resulting in 80% of my desired outcomes and happiness?²
The 80/20 rule as Tim sees it is kind of like throwing out all those things that don’t bring you joy. Or at least outsourcing them. I have this red shirt in my closet that I hardly ever wear. I will go literally years without wearing it. Then I will wear it just to justify it being in the closet. This week I finally put that shirt in the Goodwill pile. In the same way Tim is talking about finding those sweet spots, those things that bring us joy and to work on concentrating those efforts.
“Slow down and remember this: Most things make no difference. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective – doing less – is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.”³
It’s a matter of focus. Choose the 20% that is most important in your work and focus on doing more of that. Spend a concentrated amount of time and free up time with your family. It makes so much sense! I can’t wait to put these into practice along with the Dreamline on page 61. I’ve seen these two principles work in my own life.
Part of why I’ve committed to reading a book a week is because of all the information overload. It’s easy to get sent off on a course that leads you to busy work or boredom. I want to surround myself with some of the best leaders. They say you become who you surround yourself. I believe that also applies to what we digest on television, what we read, and who we work with. Our current reality of who we are surrounded with may not be able to change due to circumstances such as current job or family. One thing we can all change though is what we fill our mind with. Brené Brown, Jim Collins, John C. Maxwell, and stories of Abraham Lincoln and FDR are a few of the people I’ve been hanging out with since October. Join me for a year-long commitment to reading a leadership book a week!
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Vigilant Poster Girl