Episode 006 - How do I find the time to do the things I really want to do?
If you find yourself saying ‘I’m to busy’, then this podcast is mandatory listening! Dr Ro and Harms help you regain your time in this episode, to allow you to do the things you have always wanted to do, but put on the back burner.
On episode 006 Dr Ro and Harms put on their group coaching hats and guide you through 4 important questions:
- What do you really want to do?
- What is stopping you?
- Is what’s stopping you a high level or low level?
- What are you prepared to say no to, knowing that it’s not high-level?
It will be hard to say ‘I’m too busy to do the things that I love to do’ after listening to this weeks episode of The Seekardo Show.
Here are some statistics and insights we referenced during the podcast:
Please note – The statistics stated in the Podcast will vary over time and will be specific to certain geographic locations.
For a full read of the podcast, here is a full transcript of everything Dr Ro and Harms covered in this episode of the Seekardo Podcast.
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Hello, it is Harm’s here on another episode of the Seekardo podcast. And I’m here with Dr Ro, and today we are talking about the questions:
How to find the time to do the things I really want to do?
And Dr Ro this is a question that we have a little WhatsApp exchange, and you wanted to tackle this question. So, why this question in particular?
I did things. Thanks for asking the question.
Hello everybody! And thanks again for tuning in. So, in the world that I am in. Both on a personal level, and the people around me, and my vicinity of the people that hang out in my field. But also going out into the world of speaking, coaching at large groups, small groups. One of the things that happens when we get into periods of interaction, i.e. a coffee break, a tea break, end of the day, start the day, lunch breaks. People often come up and they say, “I’m so busy at the moment. Some of the stuff you talked about, I really want to improve my health. I’d like to travel more with my kids, I really want to go do this program on property investing. I want to learn how to trade the stock market. I want to take some weekends out to go learn and to do personal development. I understand all that, I just don’t have the time to do it. How do I find the time to do this? I’m just so busy.”
And that is a standard sense. If you’re listening to this right now, I can almost guarantee that in the last week, or two weeks, something has come up where you wanted to do something else, but you just didn’t have the time to do it. And you’re online with me right now Harminder. You classically fall into a millennial age group. Surely you hear this within your peer group as well?
I think you’ve nailed it Ro. That’s the standard line. “I am too busy, I am too busy, I am too busy.” But I am going to fire this one back. I’ve been looking at the older generation. They also have sometimes a response where, if they’re having to do something out of the norm, or out of something that’s in their comfort zone, or something which is not as part of their daily habit. They can also come back with the line as, “I’m too busy to do that, I’m too busy to learn that, I’m too busy to go to the gym.” Or whatever the scenario is, and we can dive into what’s important and what’s not important in this podcast.
But I think it’s not only the millennials, everybody has at some point in their lives said, “I’m too busy to do that.” When they really wanted to actually do that.
I agree, I think you know if you drew the line at say 14,15,16 years of age and that’s school, so that stays there. They’re kind of in the system, and that’s a whole conversation for another podcast, the system and how it manipulates our time. But the minute somebody breaks away from that system in terms of they’re not locked into a required curriculum or following studies, unless you’re doing home schooling. Now you go into the quote on quote “real world”. 18 to 25, 24, 22, you could argue alright you’ve got your university degree type period. But you’ve also got people that have left school but don’t want to go into education, and they’re in the work environment.
So, I think you’ve got two categories of somewhere from 18 to 22, 23, then you’ve got the 23-year-olds right through to probably mid 30s about that period where they’re single, no kids and out wanting to pursue and do something in life. There’s definitely an excuse in that age group. So, you’re right, it hits all age groups. We have just covered your age group.
Then you get to 35 to 45-year olds. This is the age now where people are now settling down to have kids. So, then you’ve got another challenge which is related to starting a family. Then you get to 45 up to about 60, my age group. Your working professionals that have got kids that have potentially grown up, but they’re still busy because the pressure upon them is not family or building, or creating a family, or managing a family. It’s not, “I’m pursuing my career, I’m trying to get my credibility, I’m trying to fit as much as I can into my life” in your 25 to 35. We are now 45 to 60 range where they’re at a career level where they don’t want to lose their jobs. There’s a lot more pressure on them, they’re managing people, and as a result of that two families trying to support a lifestyle are still very busy. So, the nature of the business has changed, is this making sense? It’s not to say, one is not less valuable than the other, it’s just the reasons that people are busier are changing through the period of their life.
I agree Ro. And I think that does make sense, and here’s an interesting thing because you’ve gone through the ages. But isn’t it fascinating that somebody at university is too busy to get a side job, but then when they leave university they’ve got a job, yet they’re too busy travelling and excited to start a family and have a relationship. But when they’re entering a relationship, they’ve still got their job, they’ve still got their partner and then they’re too busy to have kids. But then they manage to have kids and find the time to raise the children, and everybody is busy to do something at some point in life. But when things change, suddenly they have the time to manage it. And I think that’s something we can hopefully help people discover as we go through this podcast, and it is to do with the element that you’ve already introduced.
Okay, so here’s the challenge right, and I agree with you, but I also disagree with you when you say they find the time and they manage it. Here’s the challenge they do find the time, but I don’t think they’re managing it very well. And you and I have a passion about this subject, is sleep. So, for example, what gives is two primary things. Three actually, physical health exercise, time spent eating and enjoying food, i.e. physically enjoying it rather than shovelling it down your throat. And thirdly, “fuck it, I’ll just sleep less time, I’ll sleep less time. I’ll get five or six hours instead of the proper seven or eight hours.” So yes, they manage it, but I’m not sure it’s managed in the right way, and of course the stress levels get up, health issues kick in and then they become ratty parents and then, of course, at the end of it if they’re still a relationship, then hopefully they’ll get a bit of time with their partner. But by then they’re exhausted and maybe they’re now in a career which they’re not happy with in that career and they’re trying to survive because their lifestyle has got to a certain level, and to maintain that lifestyle they’ve got to work longer hours and it’s a real challenge. I think it’s a modern day problem that as you’ve said is global, it really is.
It is global and there’s some fascinating statistics which we won’t share at the moment because I wanted to understand how, and those statistics are to do with wasting time. But what I wanted to start with is how do you want to structure today’s podcast for the listeners, so they can get the best out of it.
Okay, what I’d like to do is approach this as a coach, so I want people to listen to this and treat this like I’m coaching, if I’m sat opposite you and you’re paying me by the hour. I would coach you through a whole series of questions, but stages and I can tackle maybe three of those whilst we are on the podcast, if that’s alright Harminder?
And do it as though I’m asking the question and then provoke a conversation between you and I. Maybe we get some feedback from the listeners as they go through the program.
Okay, that sounds like a great way to structure the podcast. So, in that case where would you like to start?
So, let’s go back to the question, which was how do I manage my time? How do I do the things I really want to do? And I’m going to ask a simple question, and if you’re listening to this, I think it’s important you write this question down:
What is it that you truly want to do with your time?
Meaning it’s alright to have a conversation to say, “it’s okay I’m too busy. I really want to do things, but I can’t because I haven’t got the time.” Well that’s such a generalised statement. So, what we need to do from a coaching perspective, I would be asking you, okay, that’s fine, but what do you actually want to do? And if you said to me be clearer, another way to look at this is:
What has the most meaning to you in your life?
What has the most value to you in terms of your time?
So, for example, somebody might say to me, a parent might say to me, “I just want to spend more time relaxing with my kids and giving them time, because I’m spending more time at work. When I come back from work, I’m still following up from work activities, I just don’t have the time.”
So, the question then is:
Do you value spending time with your kids have a lot meaning?
If the answer is yes. The next question is:
Is that the most important thing you want to spend your time on this week?
And it might be in a shake down of a conversation, backwards and forwards, we get down to two or three things that have more meaning to you more than anything else. And the flipside to that Harminder, and the question I would ask as well is:
Why are you getting frustrated?
So, what truly means more to you?
What do you want to spend your time doing?
And if people say, “I’m not sure”, I then say okay, so why are you feeling frustrated? And then the person says, “I’m just really pissed off, really frustrated because I just want spend more time with my kids.” Okay, so there’s your answer. You’ve just got your answer by expressing frustration. “I’m really frustrated because I want to go and study, learn to play the guitar and I’ve been wanting to do it for the last four, five years, I’ve just never got around to doing it. And all this other stuff comes up. That’s why I’m frustrated because I just want to learn the instrument.” Okay, so that’s truly what you want to spend your time on.
So, if you can’t answer the question from an aspirational perspective, we go to the pain. Pain is often the biggest thing that pushes us towards what we really want to do. Is that making sense?
That makes total sense Ro, and I’ll just add to the point there, which is you, because you mentioned about for example, relaxing with kids and is a typical example that’s what parents want to do. And I think it’s a really good time for me to introduce my point, which is not to confuse the idea of relaxing with time wasting. There are two different categories here, which I wanted to introduce to the listeners. One is the idea of relaxing and the other is time wasting, and there are some statistics which we will talk about later in the podcast.
I’ll introduce a few now, which is relaxing, you can consider relaxing for example, spending quality time with the children. Relaxing is doing a yoga class walking, go to the gym, writing, reading, dancing, painting, meditation, there is a whole list of stuff that you can consider when relaxing. And a nice way to summarise it I guess is, something which creates a meditative feeling. And I think in the past podcast, we spoke about something you did many years ago which was rock climbing. And when you’re out there rock climbing, it’s a type of relaxation but it is almost a productive way to relax.
So, you’re not sitting there like a vegetable, wasting time and wasting time is the second category. And the reason I raise this so early in the podcast is I don’t want people to confuse what we talk about when we say things like relaxing versus time wasting.
Can I just jump in on that? I think as you’re listening to this, you have to remember that these are our beliefs. So, as Harminder is talking and this is the first time I’ve heard him mention this in the conversation. Remember before these podcasts, we will pick a subject and we will broadly bounce around thoughts, but we don’t go into specifics because that way it keeps the podcast natural. There is nothing prepared, there is nothing written down with a script or sentence structure or anything like that.
We just have key points that we want to cover. So, that’s the first time he is elaborating, and I just want to say to anybody listening. This is mine and Harminder’s belief about relaxation. Now one other person could argue, surely sitting down in front of the TV, watching a great movie is a way to relax. And one could argue actually, yes, because I know for me sometimes if I come from an intense experience, like running a seminar, I just want to switch off in front of a film. I don’t watch terrestrial TV; I watch a movie and it allows me to disengage. It gives my body a chance to come down, but I can’t do that for more than a few hours without the need to get some nature around me. Go for some fresh air and go for a walk, so these are our beliefs about what relaxation is. That’s the terminology that we are using for the purpose of the podcast.
Absolutely Ro, and there’s a few other ways to categorise it as well. So, I’ll finish off on the other side, which is time wasting.
The idea of time wasting, and I just want to explain that. I’m not saying that you should not do any of this, as you’ve just mentioned one of the ways that you relax is to watch a movie. So, I’m not saying don’t do any of this. What I’m saying is understand how much time and this is what we will go into, how much time you actually spend on these items. And are they actually going to be getting you closer to the meaning and making you feel less frustrated, so some of the things that you can typically consider as time wasting is television. Which is now involved into streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon prime video and there is going to be a whole load more coming to the industry. You can look at things like social media and this is probably a bit controversial, but an overconsumption of music. I’ve sort of observed teenagers’ people in their 20s and 30s, and they can literally listen to music for three or four hours on the go constantly with headphones. They’ll just listen to music over and over again.
Other ways to waste time is socialising, and video games. I mean video games is a massive industry, now a multi-million-pound billion-dollar industry which is growing, expanding, and it even has its own streaming service called twitch. If you’re curious, but those are considered things like time wasting and again like Ro said, it’s not saying don’t do any of this. It’s saying let’s now start understanding how much time we are actually spending on these things.
Right and it’s a form of escapism, where people lose themselves in games for hours and then they switch that off and go watch a movie for another two or three hours. What you’ve done is you’ve escaped into a world that is not real, it’s been created by somebody for you. So, your imagination gets lost, your connection with other people gets lost. The sense of presence with another human being gets lost. You’re not in nature. You are literally wired to an electronic gadget which in itself is creating EMFs electromagnetic fields, which in itself reacts with your body at a cellular level and it has been proven to have a negative effect on the body. It makes you feel that almost laggy, woolly, you get a lack of clarity in the way you think. This whole conversation could be on a different podcast just about that alone. So, we are talking about disconnecting from that electronic digital confusing and almost created for you world, so that you take back control that’s what we are ultimately talking about here.
I think that is a great point Ro which you’ve mentioned, which is to do with that it’s created for you. It’s almost like a simulation which you plug into, and again I’ll say it one more time. What we are saying is not to switch it off completely, but we are saying now let’s work on and figure out how much time we are actually spending in these places.
So, going back to being frustrated, just to wrap up the first part of the coaching question is, why are you feeling frustrated? And sometimes it’s just a sense of because I really want to do this and it’s not I should do it. There’s a difference between should and want to. If somebody says I really should learn to play the guitar. That isn’t a desire out of drive to want to do it, it’s because there’s almost a sense of obligation or a guilt that you feel you need to grow in that area. Or, “I really should spend time with my kids.” If it’s coming from a place of ‘should’ and again another conversation for another time, another coaching process. But that’s quite a scary thing to be driven by a sense of ‘I should do something’ is an obligation, as opposed to I’ve got an absolute desire, I truly want to spend time with my family. Or I truly want to learn to play the guitar because I love the idea of picking up the instrument, feeling it, going out walking in nature and playing guitar, or somewhere travelling with it.
So, understand the between ‘I should do this’ versus ‘I truly want to do this’. And that’s what I’m talking about meaning, it has to have meaning in your life.
How does it add colour to your life?
How does it add vibrancy?
How does it makes you wake up tomorrow for being a better human being tomorrow, than you did today, because you learnt a new instrument, or you learnt a new language, or you went out and socialised with people instead of looking on Facebook? And it’s the feeling that you have as a human being when you wake up as a result of growth, which really defines who you are going to become in the future, as opposed to a vegetable sat in front of the TV. And yes, you’ve had two hours of switch off time, but you get up and you just feel laggy, frustrated, apathetic, de-energised. By the way I’m not having a rant.
I just sort of felt it coming and I think essentially let’s just choose the guitar as an example, if the goal is to learn how to play the guitar. As part of your time spent in a 24-hour window. It should be practising to play the guitar, so you get closer to reaching the goal of being really competent playing it. And then you can play it in front of your friends or take it travelling as you said, versus I really want to play the guitar, but what I’m going to the one do instead is spend time on social media.
Or spend time watching binge watching TV shows on Netflix. So, that’s where the frustration will come because the next day you’ll want to have got closer to playing the guitar, but you haven’t. And then times that by a week, times that by a month. And then six months goes by and a year goes by, you go to review your year, or your annual goals and you’re like, “damn I really wanted to pay the guitar, where they hell did the time go? I must have been really busy.”
This is a great point and you know if you’ve read outliers and you understand the concept of 10,000 hours and then 10,000 hours takes you to a level of excellence. I mean it is the ultimate pinnacle in any field you want to specialise in. But even 1,000 hours on a guitar. Imagine just 1,000 hours and you might think well that’s a lot of hours.
Well, maybe not by the time we end this call, but 1,000 hours playing guitar oh my gosh, the level would be amazing. You’re stood at a doorway in your life. On the right-hand side there is a group of people, five of them sat round all on phones or in a circle on a set of rocks by a lake, or on the phones just on Facebook. Surrounded by an oak tree, some flowers, a wild grass meadow, and a lake. On the left-hand side you’ve got five people sat around the fireplace, an oak tree, wild meadow, flowers and a lake, and you’re in the middle, playing guitar. They’re all listening to your singing and they’re totally engaged; you can choose one of those paths, it’s as simple as that. That’s literally what we are creating here, a chance to change your destiny just by learning one thing. It doesn’t have to be guitar, but it’s the philosophy. Just think about that scene in the future, because it is ultimately what you’re creating.
And that’s a powerful scene Ro.
So Ro, we’ve covered the fact that what is it that you want to do. We have ticked that box.
Okay, can I ask another question?
Yeah go for it.
So, the follow-up question to that is:
What is stopping you?
Because now we know what they’re frustrated about, “I want to go learn this, do this, travel, spend more time, I want to go rock climbing, I want to learn how to do skydiving, or learn to fly a plane.” Whatever it is, whatever that experience is. “I want to go eat in fine dining restaurants.” Whatever it is, next question is simple, four words:
What is stopping you?
That sentence with a question mark at the end to turn it into question is a very, very powerful question. Because I f asked enough times in a row. People will cut through all the bullshit, all the fluff and get to the truth of it. What’s stopping you? “Well you know I’m busy in my job.” Okay, so outside your job what else is stopping you? Because when you leave work at 5 o’clock, 6 o’clock there’s still time in the evening. “Well, okay, outside of work I am working and there’s other stuff I need to do.” What else do you need to do? “Well there is a Coronation Street, there’s EastEnders.” So, they spend three hours in front of the TV, or whatever it is.
Or it’s, “I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to clean the house, my boss has asked me to do overtime, got to help my friends he has this project and I promised I would help him do that. And then I’ve got another friend of mine who is trying to re-rebuild an old car, so I said I would go help with that.” There will always be other stuff. So, we get the whole list of what’s stopping you onto one piece of paper, and that’s the next question. We haven’t got there yet to the third question; I just need to capture on paper what is stopping you. And we just don’t go for one answer. We keep peeling the onion. What else is stopping you?
Okay, apart from that what else is stopping you? Apart from that what else is stopping you? And you’ll get to a point where they go, that’s it, we’ve got seven things here. So, you’ve started with one thing but there is actually seven. And then we move onto the next question which we will come in a minute, I just want to make sure that you’re understanding the process, and does it make sense to you? Listening to me doing it with you, whilst we are on this call Harminder?
Yes, that makes total sense. And you threw in a time there. And I actually want to verify this time as you said, you spend three hours watching TV, you spend three hours on social media, something like that. And in preparation for when you asked the question, in preparation I gathered some statistics from some surveys and reports.
Some core sources:
So, as an example, you’re pretty much bang on, because for the age group of 16 to 24 so that age group there which is just left of now being 30. They are spending three hours a day on social media alone. And I don’t want to leave your generation alone. They are also on the hook for this because between the ages of 45, 54, they’re still spending an hour to an hour and 40 minutes a day on social media. And this also includes, this is separate to the fact that people also streaming on television. This is just social media alone.
Okay, let’s come to streaming for a minute. I’ve just got my phone next to me, so thee hours, that is 1,095 hours a year. And one hour forty minutes, call it 1.75 hours, is 638 hours a year. So, the concept of becoming, you know the 10,000 hours. If you become excellent at something, i.e. you’re at the peak of your career or skill level, musician whatever, is the classic 10,000 hours here that we’ve quoted. Over 10 years of just giving up TV you can achieve that excellence. But even in a year, Harminder the 1,095 hours, call it 1,000 hours playing guitar, you and I could be in a band man by then. Seriously though, that’s a lot of hours isn’t?
And that’s just one of the elements.
Even for somebody in my age group. The 640 hours approximately per year, if I divide that by 24 hours. So, for a youngster between 16 and 24 that’s 45 days per year, that’s non-stop days, i.e. wake up in the morning and got to bed. That’s 45 days in a row, they would be online and for somebody my age it’s approximately 26 days per year just non-stop. That’s 26, 24-hour days per year on social media. That didn’t exist when I was 16 to 24, didn’t have any of that. Barely had TV.
This is on top of the idea of television and streaming, so that’s separate. And that’s also what somebody does in their own personal time. Never mind the statistics out there on the time wasted at work checking emails. So, example I pulled up a study and what I’ll do with all these studies I’ve pulled these statistics from, I’ll put them on the show firstname.lastname@example.org/shownotes. So the listeners at home can actually go and see that these are not just one study, but I’ve pulled it from multiple range of studies and they will vary slightly in the minutes. But they’re done in the US, in Europe and things like that. So, at work this is incredible, so people at work, spend 3.9 hours on YouTube videos and checking social media at work. And then they’re also checking three and a half hours, they’ve calculated this over a week period.
So, 3.9 hours a per week?
Yes, so per week, and then they’ve also got 3.4 hours checking emails, and these are low value tasks at work.
Oh my gosh.
And then on top of that we’ve got the interruptions which come, and I don’t how they’ve calculated this, but they worked it out as 3.2 hours on interruptions, then they’ve also got the hours spent in meetings, wasteful meeting. So, they class it as one hours’ worth of wasteful meetings. So, just imagine all of these hours, stacked up at work, which is now taking away from your own personal life, so this equates to roughly how they’ve calculated it roughly 30% of the work week, which is completely spent as wasted non-productive time. Which the employee can get back, so the employee can reclaim the 30% and spend that in their own time now learning to master a skill, learning to do that thing that they always want to do linking back to the original question.
This is the first time I’m seeing this is on paper, I’ve just written it down whilst you’re speaking. And all I see on this piece of paper is overwhelm. I mean just jumping out as a word I’m looking at the human being that is spending four hours a week just look at YouTube videos, and social media whilst they are at work. Add to that the three and a half hours of emails and then you know interruptions from other people around them. Add to that 1,000 hours a year, 45 days, break it down to months I guess, of actual time spent just on social media. And then, what about time watching movies, have you got any stats on that?
Okay so I haven’t got the stats on watching movies, but I have the time spent on as an example, Netflix. So, this is the statistics from streaming observe artists and they’ve looked at Netflix alone, which adds to 18 days’ worth of streaming over the course of the year. So, people are spending 18 days. Imagine watching Netflix for 18 days in a row without sleep, that’s how much time people are spending just streaming on Netflix.
What is that daily? How many minutes per day?
It is actually very similar to the social media statistics; they’re spending 71 minutes a day.
Wow, so that on top of the three hours on social media, and that’s just Netflix. I mean you’ve Amazon prime, plus you’ve got terrestrial TV for the ones that watch terrestrial TV.
Yeah, you got the iPlayer’s, you’ve got ITV, BBC iPlayer, so you’ve got all of that available. And what the power that brings to the whole media is, it’s instant. I mean you can watch it on the train coming home. You can watch it on your phone, your I device, your tablet, your iPad. Whatever it is you can watch it whilst you’re cooking, whatever scenario is, it just means you’re constantly plugged in.
Right, or you could be listening to something like this which helps you grow and develop. A podcast which is about personal development as opposed to personal destruction.
Exactly, so one of the things that can fall into the relaxing category is listening to an educational podcast, is trying to grow as a human, reading a positive book, reading a book which will help develop you in your career. So, reading something which will help your skill set. It’s two categories and the way I’ve seen it defined out there, and the way I like to refer to it as deep work or shallow work. I’ve also heard it referred to as, a famous speaker a guy called Jim Rohn, he classed it as major or minor things.
So, you can either be doing a major thing or minor thing.
Okay my language to myself, and we have this conversation at home sometimes. It’s high-level or low-level high.
And that’s selling high value versus a low value or no value. So, there is even a category of no value whatsoever.
Yeah, and that equates to interruption, so you know we will have a conversation at home, “is this high-level or low-level conversation? Do we need to have this conversation right now? Is it serving us or is it just a conversation for the sake of noise?”
And that can happen if something happens around us, or somebody pisses us off, or we find ourselves drawn into a conversation about another person. Because you hear parents often talk about this and I was at a school talk the other evening, I was really fascinated because they gave the parents the option to choose subjects that they felt was a topical subject, or a subject that’s meaningful. There were 50 parents, they could break into groups and I haven’t told you Harminder, we could break into groups and during the evening it’s called open space. You could choose a subject, stand up and say I’ve got something to talk about and I’ll be over there, there was a sign and they’ll come to your sign and discuss it. So, here’s some examples of some of the conversations that were coming up.
This is fascinating, I’ve not heard this.
So, questions like, should we have a school principal at school?
Because the school where my children go has as a flat structure, so that was something meaningful to discuss. Another one was, should I be concerned about my salary? It was to do wages as a teacher, so that was another one. Another one was to do with the security gates, I think it was on the site. Another one was to do with caring and keeping the classrooms clean. I chose one which was, how can we help our children improve their communication both with their parents and with their teachers, to create more meaningful experience. And then there was other questions about, it was just things. It was really interesting. There were some fairly meaningful one, nobody came to my talk.
Yeah, so out of 50 parents not a single parent, apart from the one who happened to wander over to the section I was at, “what is it you’re talking about?” It’s not even a talk it’s an open discussion, it was done into two halves. So, the first half of the evening you want to choose, and I went to one where it was about how to create a caring environment for the kids. I thought that was really good.
So, I loved the idea of creating a caring environment for the kids and the lady went, what I mean is how can we care for the environment, how can we clean the rooms. I thought you meant caring for the kids, and she said well no I just think that they could be made to look prettier and maybe look a little bit neater, and I said okay. And another father came along slightly and said, oh I thought you meant caring for the kids, I thought that was what this open discussion was about.
So, even the way it was articulated, and it’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it just shows you how people misinterpret the meaning of something. So, my point is, I think a lot of people have stuff they just want to talk about and the level of that is different. So, I thought mine was quite meaningful value debate, is how can we help our children communicate more effectively because most kids are having meltdowns. And the one father that happened to come over and discover what my title was afterwards and asked what are your thoughts? And when I started to share with him about the consequence of kids and their inability to communicate with their parents, and then they go off and get into groups of people that distract them and they get into drugs and stuff. He was like fuck; this is the most important conversation of the whole evening.
I said well I thought so. So, I sat there for an hour, and the concept of open forum is if nobody joins your meeting don’t take offence, just carry on as if you’re having your own internal discussions. So, I created a whole model of how I think we can help children which is going to go into my next book.
But what my point is, the average person spends too much time on low level things. They are focusing on stuff that is at the surface, stuff that is just bothering them. And I just walked around like why are they having these discussions? What it was they just wanted to vent off, every human being has to want to vent off. But you have to decide is this venting off high-level, high-value conversation or is it just going to waste an hour or two of my time. And at the end of that conversation it’s meaningless. It hasn’t moved me forward at all. That’s where we come to the third part of the question, which we will come to in a minute. You know, are you feeling that you’re obligated to go and have these conversations.
I mean Harminder truthfully right, when you were in your job, I know you’re self-employed now, entrepreneurial. But did you ever find yourself caught in a situation in the work environment, where you knew you were busy and somebody threw a question or conversation or a topic at you, or you caught it at the back end of a lunch break? And before you know it, you’ve spent 20 minutes, 30 minutes drawn into that. And afterwards thought fuck, what was I doing there?
To be honest. Honestly, yes.
I mean a phrase which comes to mind it’s like watercooler conversation or a coffee conversation. And it’s really frustrating because once you’re sucked into the conversation, you’re sucked into it. Then the hour and a half goes by, and that is the hour and a half that you’ve just completely wasted. And it’s all about you know what’s happening in the news, what’s happening in politics, what’s happening in sports. And don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for things like that for when you are intentionally going to socialise, but when you have a busy workday and somebody grabs your attention like that, and sucks you in. Because sometimes you don’t want to be doing the work you’re doing and that’s when it becomes even more challenging. You don’t want to be doing the task you’re doing at work, so you think let me just join this group conversation here, talk about something of low value. Next minute you know you’ve still got to get your work done and you’re going home an hour and a half later. So these low value conversations have a practical knock-on effect as well as just simply wasting your time.
I agree. Can I on that subject, can I bring in the third question? And this is the last question I want to add into the discussion. Can I do that now? Or is there anything else you wanted to add?
Before you move onto that one. I just want to summarise what we’ve just spoken about here. Which is, what we are now doing is we are evolving into the categories of high value versus low value or no value tasks. Which Ro refers to as high level or low level. Also referred to as major or minor. Or there is a philosophy of deep work and shallow work, which I’ll refer to at the end as one of my action points which I’ll leave you guys with. Which will hopefully help get you to a point to start looking at your time.
So, Ro after summarising that, I think it’s a great time now to move on to the final point, or the next point.
Okay, so what I think, and I’ve added this as you were speaking. I’ve just made a note. So, on the back of question number two which is, what’s stopping you? Leading into the third question, third point, I want everybody listening to this to imagine you’re stood at a watershed on the top of a mountain where it goes left or right. A watershed is where you stand on and then you get a dividing point. Or you’re stood at a Y junction on the path, and you’ve got to go left or right. All you need to simply ask yourself this question is:
Is what’s stopping me high-level or low level?
Is it high-value or low value?
Whatever phraseology you’ve related to it, which Harminder has just mentioned there and myself. You have to ask that question. I think that is a really important task. Over the next week if you can make that a bit of a project, so that every time you come across a point where you want to go, “Ah I want to go this way, but in truth I’m being drawn over to this way.” Is the thing that is drawing you away from where you want to be, is it going to be high-level?
Meaning is it going to add value to your life? Is it going to be enough of a contribution to the world, to the person you’re possibly being distracted by, or to yourself? Or is it low-level? Meaning it’s not going to make any difference to your own personal life, not going to add any value to you. It’s not something that is any meaning to you, it literally is a thing that will have no meaning in a weeks’ time or two weeks’ time. Because that will define what happens next. Does that make sense Harminder? It’s almost like a self-coaching question.
It’s almost like catching yourself in the moment.
But we do appreciate that it is a habit that’s going to change, it is not going to be easy. Because, naturally, as people, we want to take the path of least resistance. So, don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot easier to sit there and watch a movie. It’s so much easier to just sit there enjoy the movie.
It’s a classic example. So, let’s picture the scene. You’re about to sit down with Geena your wife, and you’re going to watch let’s say a romantic comedy which looks all right, on Netflix it has got a rating of about 3 and 1/2. A few people said they liked it and it’s got a well-known actor in it, and you could sit down and do that. Or the two of you could go out for a walk for the next hour and a half which I know where you are living at the moment it’s something you’ve done more of in the last two, three months. And possibly while you’re out, talk about one of the holidays you’re planning for next year, but that could take you about an hour and a half to go out and do the walk and come back. Which one of those genuinely hand heart, feels like a high level? Which one feels like a low level?
Hand on heart, the walk, and then talking about our future holiday that is the high level.
Explain why, because somebody else might not relate to that. Why for you based on your value system, because this is an important question coaching wise. And me asking you the question you can help the listener is, why on your value system does that even feel remotely different? And it is a massive difference for you, but why is it remotely different for you?
That’s a great question. So, the first thing to do is, I’ve come through a process where I actually understand what my values are. So, one of my values is health. So, health being the value what am I going to gain, a more vital or feeling of a healthier lifestyle by either sitting down watching the TV show or movie or going for a walk in nature? So, that one is a clear tick in the box.
Okay, but when you say one of my values and I’m being specific here because people listening might not get this. When Harminder says that, he doesn’t mean one of 50 values. I’m guessing that’s in your top five is it? Is that what you meant?
It is in the top five. And one of things I do focus on, and I think values can be a conversation for a separate podcast for sure. But I typically try to keep it down to about three maximum five values, which I try to make my decisions, the decisions I live by are in alignment with those values. And when I’m doing stuff like going for the walk versus the movie, going for the walk actually aligns with my value, which is health and also love and connection. So, love and connection are one of my values, but mainly love and connection with my wife, my partner. So, I’m ticking two boxes there in one hour and half walk.
Okay and also I know you to be somebody that likes variety which is a big value for you. So, if I’m correct then, in having the conversation with Geena going out into nature and talking about travelling, you’re now adding excitement of variety in the whole experience.
Absolutely and we are now positioning something we are looking forward to and knowing us that always going to mean, okay, for us to go on holiday we’ve got to do this, this and this. And it gets us really fired up.
Okay that stimulates you to maybe generate more revenue in the business or whatever, more profit.
Okay that’s good. And for anybody listening I think can we do a separate podcast on the basics of sorting out, well we call it eliciting your value hierarchy of needs. We can go through the process on one of the podcasts where we actually, at least go through how to start that.
I think that’s massively important Ro because, up to about four and half years ago, genuinely hand on heart I did not even know there was a value hierarchy. I thought as a person when I was feeling frustrated and I felt down, I didn’t realise that it’s because I actually just wasn’t doing things which got me closer to my goals, or closer to my values. And that was a big part my frustration. So, when I was watching movies going back to the example, when I watched a movie, yes I felt great doing it, but afterwards and the next day, I just didn’t feel great. I just felt, I had a high and then came out and I felt low. Whereas after a walk, talking about our holiday and talking about what you need to do in the excitement around that with your wife and your partner. That leaves you home, and you feel invigorated, you feel excited, you feel like you’ve actually achieved something. And that is because it’s in alignment with my values. So, I think we definitely, definitely have to do a podcast on values and aligning values.
And on that for the person, for those of you listening today, there is another reason behind all that is the fact that watching a movie, someone else is providing that sense of satisfaction for the watcher. Whereas Harminder going out and going for a walk, he is in control. That means he can drop everything and go and do the same thing, each time he has that experience he immediately creates a sense of satisfaction. So, he’s in control, but if you’re constantly being fed with a drug, alcohol, movies, whatever it is to constantly feed that part of you. You’re never actually in control of it, and that’s why there’s that weird sensation afterwards. It is like a fix, “I need to watch another one, I need to get another high because I can’t create it for myself.” You can, but you’re probably just unaware of it.
Which is why people go and enter binge watching. So, typically if you take a television series or a Netflix series. There’s maybe six episodes in season one, it’s very common you’ll find people that have watched six episodes of season one over a weekend. Or watched three episodes back to back, and then suddenly in an evening where you wanted to, going back to the original example where you wanted to learn how to play the guitar. You said actually, “what I’ll do is I’ll just watch one Netflix show.” Then the show finishes, you have a low and you need another high, so you go and watch episode number two. Next thing you know you’re three hours in, and you haven’t even touched the guitar and that’s the hook.
Further down the line for the listeners, there are some of the programs that I have developed over time, they include managing your time and understanding the difference between where you put your time in detail. But also learning to elicit values and make sure you’re living by a set of values that you’ve truly worked through and developed. And that’s something that we can certainly start to touch on it, if that’s alright with you Harminder on the podcasts?
Yeah that will be amazing. It will give people useful tools; I think that’s fantastic. That’s
again, one of the visions of the podcast, which is to give people one or two tools they can take away from each episode, which will make a positive impact on their life. And I think managing somebody’s time is massively important.
Is there anything you can share with us on that straight away? And maybe I can share some tools that I use to manage my week?
Okay so, that kind of comes to the third part of the process I want to take us through before you get to giving people some actions to do. So, having established what is stopping you, the next thing to do is, and it’s important to write this down is:
Start to learn to say no.
And that is a really tough one because the average person when they’re faced with all of these distractions and people pulling from left, right, centre or interruptions, as you’ve just said there from the work environment. On the stats you’ve just gave us, it’s FOMO, fear of is missing out. Or its FONO, fear of saying no. And actually the fear of saying no can create a lot of pain for people, “I have to say yes because I don’t want to upset my friend, I don’t want to create a dissatisfaction in my relationship with them. They might not want to come to me next time, they might want to go to somebody else. They might not invite me to the next social gathering. I might not get invited out for a beer tomorrow night because they’re all going because they said yes to something else previously.” And that’s really, this whole thing about cliques is really quite powerful. People get drawn into that.
So, I think that’s the third question I’ve got for you is:
What are you prepared to say no to, knowing that it’s not high-level?
Because once you’ve identified is it high or low level. If it’s a low-level activity, low-level distraction, low-level request. This is not degrading that person or whoever is approaching you, it’s just for you personally. You’ve got to think about your cup, filling up your cup. If you’re constantly emptying it out of time and energy for everybody else, how are you ever going to fill your cup up? So, probably three things to be aware of:
Fear of missing out. Be aware of that, because if you’re living in a place of fear, as I said already as opposed to desire, that is very low level.
Next one is fear of not pleasing people. So, fear of missing out is one thing. Another one is fear of upsetting other people, or fear of not pleasing them. And I think I fall into that. I know in the past I’ve seen you do the same thing Harminder because of your nature, it’s like wanting to go beyond and help people. But there’s a point where it goes from, “I like to help people”, to “I can’t say no to people.” There is a very big difference. One thing is contributing to somebody else’s well-being, maybe they’re in financial or emotional difficulty and you need to support them. But if that same person keeps drawing from you on a regular basis. They’re basically operating in a victim mode; it might be that they’re just taking advantage of your good nature. So, understanding the differential between saying no because you need to look after yourself versus I don’t want to feel like I’m upsetting people. So, fear of not pleasing people.
Another one is learning to understand, so one of the causes people say no is, they just want to constantly be busy. “I just have to keep getting things done.” So, what happens is you start to work through your list and then you add to the list. And you keep adding to the list and keep adding to the list. So, if you said no, and made your list shorter how would that make you feel? A lot of people they just almost, their identity, their significance is tied to, “you don’t understand I’ve got this massive list of things I’ve got to work through.” And that becomes their flag that they wave around constantly to their wife, to their kids, to their husband, whatever the relationship is. “I’m really busy because look at the list of things I’ve got to do.” And there’s apps now that lists everything out. Just everywhere you go there’s something to do, you will never ever, I’ve written this down actually as a point to myself. I don’t make many notes but one of the things I wrote down is, you’ll never, ever, ever finish your to-do list because it is endless. So, you have to learn to differentiate what’s important, what’s meaningful, what’s low-level. What can you let go, what’s not going to change your life in 10 years versus what is going to make an impact in 10 years. I know it sounds a bit confusing in the way I’m tackling it, but effectively what I’m saying is, drop it into two categories, high-level, low-level. Low-level start to say no. Does that help clarify?
That does help clarify Ro. And I still go through that struggle, those sort of challenges with managing my time and especially saying no. And if you’re listening at home it’s going to be constant, especially when you’re first growing your business. Especially when if you say you’re in a start-up phase or you’ve just got promoted. So, this is typically when these will really, really start to surface. So, if you’ve just got a promotion, of if you’ve just started a business, or you’ve just started to consult for a company or something like that.
The feeling you’ll have is you’ll want to say yes, they’ll come at you with something else because you are providing them a solution, problem solver. You’re a fixer and because you provide so much value, and you’re reliable they will come back to you again. And I have faced this myself. They will come back to say okay can you do this, think about yourself and your career, you get paid the same as other people in your sort of career in your job, in the same job title. But why do people keep coming back to you, to keep doing more and more? And what happens is you say to them, yes I’ll do that, yes I’ll do that, yes I’ll do that. And then what happens is you get extremely stretched, overwhelmed which is a word that has been used in this podcast so far, and it’s challenging. So, we do appreciate it is going to be a reality, but especially happens at the start.
So, a question I’ve got Ro is, if somebody is starting a new business, or whether they’ve just got a promotion. Naturally, the intention is going to be to want to say yes, but the problem with saying yes in the early stages is that it becomes a permanent habit. And then they become a pleaser, or they become the go-to person and the challenge with that is exactly what you’ve discussed in introducing this topic about saying, no instead of saying yes all the time. So how does somebody deal with that in the early stages?
Are you talking about in this situation, saying yes or no to the business, or yes or no to a career offer, alongside their aspiration on the side, which might be building a business?
So, just to clarify what I’m saying is, if they have just got the promotion or as an example, they’ve just landed a new consulting client, or they are in a start-up phase. And there is a list of high-value tasks and low value tasks. But what happens in the early stages is, people do get bombarded with lots of requests, “can you do this for us, can you do this for me?” And the challenge that they face is, because they’re so early they have to say yes. So, how do they deal with that in the early stages? Because I appreciate that a lot of listeners listening to us may be in the early stages of what they’re creating or in this stage that they’ve got a brand new job. And they are backed into a corner sometimes where they have to say yes, and it’s almost quite difficult for them to say no. What’s the strategy for them in the early days?
Right so I sort of look at it as though I’m on a path. And if I’ve been given a task, same thing when I was in my job. Because you’re a newbie and you’ve got lots of enthusiasm. So, I always look at the priority first. What’s the most, it goes back to the first question, what’s the thing I truly want to do? We can apply it into the work environment as well. So, as an example, I’ve got a project given by my boss and I need to get that finished, that’s my primary focus. So, I’ll say to my head right, everything else comes secondary to that. But how much time do I need to actually achieve that? So, if the new project requires me to spend two thirds of my time in a week. I’ve got approximately a third of my time available for other, to resource to other things. So, then if I get five other things that come at me, outside of the main two thirds big project. I will then categorise those into high-level, low-level.
So, it’s a filtering system highest level is the new project, I want to please my boss because that’s partly what I agreed to come in on the contract for. Whatever it is I’m coming into that company for. I’ve got two thirds of my time available for the project.
Those are things high-level, low-level. High level it’s possibly linked to the other project, or it might be part of my career path, so I’m saying okay, of these five people that have approached me which ones are going to help me the best in terms of my career path and building relationships? And which ones are almost tasks that truthfully anyone else could do, it is not necessarily at the level at which I operate in the company. Because I had a PhD when I started my real full-time career. I had to distinguish between and it’s not about ego, but what’s my skill set suited to? And is this particular element necessary? And I’d literally say to them, and I’d be very honest, and this is very important for anyone listening tonight, or to this recording. Actually say to yourself, is there someone else that can do this? And if there is, explain to the person coming to you and say,
“look I’ve got most of my time is currently focused on these two major areas here and I need to finish those. I think there are other people better suited to do this and at the moment I’m not able to do it. If you do want it done by me, it’s most likely I’ll be able to do it about three weeks’ time. I do feel however there’s probably somebody else better equipped, or better experienced, or in a better position to attack this right now.”
And just be frank and honest, because the minute you say yes, they will automatically assume that you’re going to say yes to that type of task again. You’ve just lowered your bar, is that making any sense?
That makes great sense, and I think the big takeaway there if somebody is listening at home is, have the strength just to be honest and frank, but say it in a respectful way. Just as Ro has almost scripted it there for you. You can actually pull that script out of the podcast and use that as a script. Because you’ve processed it internally and it either doesn’t align with your values, or it doesn’t work for you, or you don’t have the time resource available. So, if you just answer in an honest and open way like that then 99% of the time I’m sure they would actually respect you for that and say, actually fair enough. Because you’re also providing them with a solution. You’ve said maybe go to this person or somebody else in the environment that’s better suited to that. So, I love that. I think that’s a nice, practical solution for that situation.
And if somebody is scripting it out, the way to round it off is to say,
“I think this deserves full attention from somebody to get the best result you’re looking for. If I pick this up alongside everything else I’m doing it won’t get my full attention, and I’m not sure you’re going to get the result you’re looking for. It could get done, but I think this deserves a bit more attention and I can’t get that to you. It will be unfair to me to say yes and not deliver it for you.”
And that is a very honest answer, and straight away boom they’ll respect you more for that level of honesty. So that when they come to you next time they’ll be more careful about what they bring to you, and likely, I found this very early on is that when I started using…and I developed this by me at the time going to seminars and learning personal development, and reading books. There was books about how to create more meaning in what you’re doing, and I realised okay, so when I approach people they would then come back to me and say, “last time we came to you with something and appreciate it wasn’t appropriate, but we’ve got this task for you, I think it’s more aligned with what you can do.” And it was much higher level, okay now it’s more interesting, and is actually going to add more value for both me and the company as well. It is a filtering system.
That’s a great script to use. So, if you’re listening at home just pull that scrip out, and just try it. The next time you want to say no to something, and you have a feeling that you want to say no to it. Try that script, whether you email it, on mobile phone or face-to-face. Just give that a go and you can always feedback to us how that went. And I think yes, it is a great tool and a great script to use.
So, that’s on the point of saying no and not only does this apply to a person to person away, a task -related thing, I think, and I truly believe it also means saying no to yourself when approaching the low value tasks, like watching a Netflix show. Maybe you’re now moving from episode number one to episode number two, and you’ve just got to find a way to say no, this is a low value task. So, if we use the example that Ro said, “Okay you got a choice Harms, you watch a Netflix movie or and we are using Netflix as an example, it can be any sort of streaming service. You’re watching that movie there, or you can go for a walk, talk about the holiday next year, with your wife over on this side. I have to make a decision at that point and say no to the movie, yes to the walk. So, it just does not apply to a person to person relationship, it also applies to the activity you’re going to do. And it can be in the next five seconds, you’ve got a short window to say no in.
Yeah and actually the classic example of this is, as you know I don’t have terrestrial TV but I do have access to Netflix. And I tend to watch either really classic movies, something that really empowers me, and makes me feel uplifted. Or I’ll watch occasionally a documentary or documentary series, so one that I was quite fascinated by, because I always try to understand the whole history behind Vietnam was Ken Burns type documentary. It’s run about eight or nine in the series. So after the first one it really hooked me, and all I simply said to myself was, okay what I’ll do is during the course of the week, when I’ve done X, Y, and Z and achieved these goals, or done these things I’ll reward myself with some time out. Because it actually does, it was information as well, and for me it was like reaffirming something of my understanding of how that particular war evolved.
So, it was factual as opposed to a consuming movie or whatever, but I didn’t just consume it all in one hit. I made a choice to watch it on the back of doing something more meaningful. So, it allowed me to then have my time where I just listened to something else and be disengaged from everything else I had done. But it was on the back of having done something that felt more rewarding to me, as opposed to rewarding myself with another film or another documentary and keep doing that, that doesn’t really fit for me. That level of reward actually feels feel quite weird after a while because it’s just an numb feeling. You’ve been sat there for five hours and it’s like well I haven’t done anything to reward this.
Absolutely, and then I think when you look back at the week Ro. You can say to yourself as an example, I did 10 hours off things that aligns with my values and gets me close to my goals, versus maybe two hours watching a documentary. That’s a good way to balance versus watching 10 hours’ worth of documentaries and then only having time to do maybe three or four hours’ worth of productive tasks. That will make you feel pretty shit at the end of the week, which I think is the challenge when you look at the statistics that people are spending so much time doing the low value tasks that they believe linking back to the original question, that they don’t have the time to do what they really want to do, when it’s not truly the case.
And it goes back to being busy, so you don’t attach your identity to the fact that you’re somebody who is very busy. This goes back to the never-ending to-do list. If you can attach the sense of meaning and purpose to who you are, with comes back to values, beliefs, and your sense of purpose, as opposed to who I am is a busy person getting lots of stuff done. The reason you’re feeling frustrated and pissed off is because those things actually make no difference to your life at all. And if they do, there are simple small tasks that actually even somebody else could have done for you. And this is the thing about you know I’ve had this discussion with people about getting a cleaner in to clean the house. And they go you don’t understand I need to clean the house. Have you got the affordability to pay cleaner? We have, but we just feel we should do it ourselves, is it right to bring a cleaner in?
Then I explain to them well hold on a minute, there are people out there that may be studying at university but need to clean to get some additional money to support their life while they study to get their degree, to go on to get a job. I know a couple of single mums that right now want to do cleaning jobs because they don’t involve a lot of intellectual demand on them, but the revenue they can generate is easy to get, it’s easily managed because they can manage their time, and that money is going nowhere apart from to pay for their kids’ education.
So, if you don’t provide them with that job. They may not able to support their kids in the way they want to support them. So, don’t think of it is as somebody doesn’t want to clean my house, it’s actually a role that somebody has chosen to do at that point, for whatever reason, so there is a meaning behind the job that you’re giving to somebody.
That’s powerful Ro. And I think you’ve actually opened up another topic which is, I think it actually leads into sort of managing your week, managing the tasks that you do in the week. Because the low value tasks that is sort of in terms of the benefit in the greatest community is, the low value tasks, a lot of them can be outsourced. A lot of them can be positioned as jobs for other people who need those jobs at that specific time to benefit their life.
Without degrading the fact, it’s not low value this is beneath me, someone else can do it. It is low value in respect to your time right now. So, given the choice between sitting down and writing a chapter in my book or recording a podcast which I know is going to add value to thousands and thousands of lives, versus spending two hours washing up in the kitchen and cleaning up clothes. Both are important, but one is aligned with my high value of contributing to give to the greater good of the world. If I go do the cleaning job in the house. What if I’ve just taken away two hours of paying somebody, man or woman, or whoever it is, an elderly or younger person to come in. Who wants to do that because they need that two hours’ worth of pay to possibly finish off paying off a loan. Or that months payments towards their child’s education. So, everything has a different value. Just depends on where you are at the stage of your life, which is where we started the whole conversation at the start of this podcast which is, it all depends on what stage of your life you are at right now.
Absolutely Ro. And I am the meaning is endless, and you have to work on the certain situation the person you could be paying for example, one of the benefits to podcast listeners is we also do a transcription. So, I can’t physically, I don’t physically have the time to shoot this and then go through the entire transcription which you’ll find on growthtribes.com/podcast. Whereas there could be somebody out there who puts that money that they get paid to edit the transcription that goes on the blog, and that money may go towards their guitar lesson so they can go learn how to play the guitar. Just keeping it on the subject of what we’ve spoken about on this podcast.
This is great, that is so true
And talking about the world in general, that’s how things grow, and they grow. It’s flow.
It’s flow, flow, flow, flow, flow, that’s what it is. It is the flow of time. The flow of intention, the flow of true alignment with your values, everything works in harmony when you’re in alignment with all of those things. It’s not about taking, nothing is ever taken away from another human being. Because all energy transfers from one form to another, or an intention transfers from one form to another. If you want to go deep, there’s a very spiritual connection with all of this.
Ro that’s an amazing message. Let’s close on the podcast and let’s give them some actions for the week. And how the listeners at home can actually manage their week. And start gaining control of their time. And I’ve got a few action points for them and I’m sure you’ve got some to kick off with.
Okay right, three key questions. And I think if you write this down and make this a focus for the next week or two. I think it will definitely make a difference to what in terms of answering the original question, which is say no to things, managing your time, doing things you want to do. So, question number is:
This week, just for this week ahead. Don’t think about the next year, next month. Just this week ahead. What is one experience or one thing that you want to experience, or one thing you want to complete, or one thing that you want to start, or one thing that you want to experience with another person, or other people that you truly want to experience in this next week ahead?
It doesn’t have to be monumental, it doesn’t have to be life changing, it doesn’t have to be climbing a mountain. But it needs to be something that has meaning to you, that you know you’ve put off, should have started or should have finished, or should have picked up the phone and had a connection with somebody and set up a get together, whatever it is. This week. That’s the first thing.
Second thing is, how long will that thing require of your time? How long will it take? Is it an hour, is it two hours, is it something to sit down, is it a dream board for example, and creating images of the future you want in the future? Is it to get online and register for your first online guitar lesson or is it to have your first guitar lesson, going back to what we said. Whatever it is, work out how long it’s going to take this week. Whether it’s 10 minutes, whether it’s 10 hours, whether it’s one hour, whatever the time, this week only. And then this is going to become a week on week exercise.
Third thing, and the final thing is what can you say no to? What can you pull back from? What can you replace this week? In other words, what are you doing this week that’s low level that has, for the sake of argument, let’s say the thing that you want to do is two hours, over the next week where can you recover two hours from a low-level activity? That in the past you’ve done that hasn’t served you, everything from brainlessly watching a soap opera TV, to possibly going out and doing something for a friend which you don’t have to do and is not massively a high level thing, but you’re doing it because it is kind of a thing you’ve done in the past. And actually, takes up a certain amount of time per week, replace the thing that you truly want to do with the thing that’s low-level. And that has taken up the time in the past and make it a habit for the next month, and I think you’ll find you’ll have a completely different sense of value at the end of that. And it will be great to hear back from everybody just by doing that one exercise.
That’s a really cool exercise Ro, and to be fair a great way to start this exercise is if you just literally got piece of paper, put a line down the middle and had two titles, which is high value things I do in a week, low value things I do in a week. And just for fun, just out of curiosity before you start removing one and replacing one is, just list out everything you do in a week. And I have to do this quite often, because occasionally something of low value creeps in and I’m like I just felt extra busy this week, or I felt extra overwhelmed. So, one of things I have to do on a biweekly or monthly basis is list out everything I’m doing and it’s even down to washing the clothes, you know, going to the supermarket. And list them all out and then you can now start identifying what you want to remove, and some of those things may surprise you. They may really surprise you and I know this goes to a higher level. I’ve gone through Dr Ro’s time management series and this can really go to a high level, but I think a great starting point is exactly what Ro left you with there.
And just to finish off. I’ve got one, because I just wanted to add to your one. But one thing I think is pretty cool, and it has helped me quite a lot to shift the habit of being very busy, doing lots and lots of things. Which are of low value sometimes have to be done. So, one of the things I did which you may find useful in your life is, in a day physically block out one hour a day and preferably at the start of the day. Block out one hour a day and switch off the distractions.
So, if you’re in the workplace, you may want to actually move yourself to a different location and to really make this powerful, you need to turn your phone onto aeroplane mode, you may have to close down your email inbox. Close down any sort of notifications that you may get on your laptop if that’s the type of work you do. And just set a timer for one hour and see how much of a powerful experience that is in terms of getting an amazing piece of work done.
And it doesn’t have to be work, it can also be the activity you wanted to do. So, if you wanted to read a book block out an hours’ worth of time with no distractions and read that book, if it is to do the guitar block out an hour, no distractions, keep the buzzing the alerts that happen on your mobile phone away from you. Put the mobile phone in a different room if you have to and just spend that hour, whether it is with your kids, whether it’s playing the guitar, whether it’s cooking in pure peace and quiet. Whatever it is that has meaning to you that you really want to do, just block out one hour a day. And just work on that and see how that comes, and after the hour the timer will go off and you can go back to the phone, go back to your day-to-day living and see how that works for you.
So, you’ve got two activities there. You’ve got the activity that Dr Ro gave you and you’ve got one from myself, which is blocking an hour a day, and making it completely distraction free to build in time to your schedule for that thing that you really wanted to do. So, that’s two things. That’s two powerful things that they can take away for the listeners at home Ro.
I think that will keep them busy enough at this stage. There’s a lot to process. I mean the challenge is, we can go so deep end and sometimes it can create a real level of consciousness and people go away and process that. So, don’t take anything away from the podcast itself in terms of the confusion, because I would go back over it if there are any areas that you weren’t clear on. But if you simplify it and simplify it down to what we have just talked about, which is separating high-level, low-level. Understanding what you want to replace with something more higher level, and then what Harminder has just gone through there as well. And it’s raising that awareness, that’s a great starting point.
Absolutely Ro. And just to summarise, I mean the stuff we’ve covered in this podcast has been fantastic. How to identify your high value versus low value tasks. Ultimately it is up to you which one has more meaning and value to you. Ro you’ve covered what is it that people truly want to do, not what they should want to do and identifying what is stopping them from doing that. We’ve covered the ability to say no instead of yes, you’ve left them with the script and ultimately what we’ve ended in this week, which is helping the listeners manage their week, so they have the time to do the things they really want to do. So, I think it’s been a fantastic podcast and thanks for raising this question.
I’ve really enjoyed it and I think what’s nice about this is the two different perspectives have really integrated well today. We’ve looked at the whole range of ages as well, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.
Awesome and some of the fascinating statistics. So again, we will leave all of that stuff on growthtribes.com/podcast with the coaching notes and their actionable activities. Till the next time that’s myself and Dr Ro signing out.
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