Uninterrupted Time.

books May 28, 2020

In a recent course on passive income streams, while teaching the concept of leveraging one’s time, I quoted the author of Rework, Jason Fried, who also happens to be the co-founder of Basecamp.

Fried said, “40-hour weeks are made of 8-hour days. And 8 hours is actually a long time. It takes about 8 hours to fly direct from Chicago to London. Ever been on a transatlantic flight like that? It’s a long flight! You think it’s almost over, but you check the time and there’s still 3 hours left. Every day your workday is like flying from Chicago to London. But why does the flight feel longer than your time in the office? It’s because the flight is uninterrupted, continuous time. It feels long because it is long!”

Let this sobering fact sink in: every work week, you take the equivalent of five eight-hour flights to London. These days don’t seem so long because your time and attention are constantly interrupted.

Members report back to me, after I’ve demonstrated and taught it to them, that locking themselves away in their office with a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door for just a few hours each week on a Friday or Saturday, so they can work on the business, generates the equivalent of several days worth of interrupted time to work on the practice in between patients or other meetings.

Last week, I heard from one of our members, who used his quarantine time to get his book done. I’ve heard from other members who have finally plowed through their growing stack of reading materials and campaigns, strategies and samples. I applaud these smart members. Like you and I, they’ve probably realized how much time we really have each day.

The quarantine has reminded us that too many of our days were filled with attention-sucking activities that, when not controlled, conspired to drain us of productivity and fulfillment.

I read in the New York Times today that bird watching has become wildly popular since the quarantine, in terms of online activity, search data and purchases of books and binoculars. A few short months ago, how many people, if asked, would have answered in the affirmative that they have the time for watching birds?

If one silver lining of the pandemic and shutdown is that you understand the power of uninterrupted time, please carry it forward and start blocking it into your schedule henceforth.

The wealthiest and happiest people I know block their time into equal thirds in one of three categories: personal, productivity and planning. 

Like most small business owners, when you examine your time blocks, you’ll find you probably have way too much productivity time and far too little personal and then planning time, in that order. When you get back to work, pay special attention to how many production days you really need versus how many you think you need.*

When you commit to blocking uninterrupted time, you’ll discover big projects get done quickly and without too much effort on your part. When you do the opposite and try to squeeze projects and planning activities in the gaps throughout a productivity (or even worse) a personal day, you’ll find the constant interruption is maddening and exhausting.

If you purchased the 2020 Planner, you receive monthly and quarterly reminders, tips and strategies via email that nudge you in the direction of blocking more personal and planning time. Be sure to go back and re-read those emails. They might seem even more applicable now that we’ve all discovered how much time we really have in each day.

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