I first learned about the 2.5 Rule when living in Victoria several years ago.
The premise is simple: humans can only do 2.5 things really well. We have two elements of life that are given our full priority and one that is given half priority. Everything else is everything else; it registers off the scale in a minuet capacity.
Leif, no rx an entrepreneur I respect tremendously, discount first explained this concept to Jon. I was reminded of it again earlier this year when visiting friends in Vancouver. Jordan and Dani just had a baby, and while I played with her cute fingers I asked them about prioritizing their work, life and fitness schedules. Dani shared something she had learned called the “pick two” rule. You can only ever have two of the five life list items (Family, Friends, Fitness, Sleep, Work). You can have two at a time but you can’t have all five. Two items, ever rotating, ever changing.
I mulled that premise over for a while and compartmentalized it. My ever increasing, demanding, grueling work schedule had taken priority to things like contemplation, meditation, and relaxation. In the early days of September I read an article on Entrepreneurship that felt like a slap in the face but echoed the same content of the above messages. We cannot do everything well. We simply must pick.
My friend Alex is an excellent example of awareness around the 2.5 rule. She’s an entrepreneur with an intense schedule, and her work can be heavily demanding (I have yet to meet an Entrepreneur who doesn’t have a demanding work schedule) but she brushes her teeth in the morning and observes the sticky note on her mirror: STOP THE GLORIFICATION OF BUSY. When someone asks me how I am, I think of Alex and I work hard to select another word to describe my current state of being.
When queried on this “state of busy” Leif suggested the following: instead of responding to a request (in whatever of the aforementioned categories listed) with “I don’t have time” respond with “it’s not a priority”. We choose our priorities, and we all have the same amount of time in a day as Beyoncé (as the popular meme likes to remind us).
Coming off of a long, difficult, exciting, demanding period of work that began in April and closed out in September I find myself looking hard at what I chose this year. It pains me to admit that work took up most of my 2.5, with my journey towards Dirty Kanza filling up whatever was leftover. I’ve largely ignored my family and friends in favor of business and training, and I have absolutely ignored sleep and its friends relaxation, downtime, meditation, and quiet.
Instead of beating myself up over this choice, I can re-establish myself in another 2.5 for a while. I have the choice to select how I spend my hours, and how I choose to recalibrate.