It’s Tuesday of a massive workweek. Last night I lay awake on a pull out couch and stared at the ceiling,
Other friends have floated the river, camped for multiple weekends in a row, spent time at cabins and lakes. Other friends have sat on patios, had summer BBQs, spent the days hiking, biking and surfing.
I have been working every weekend since the end of May, with the exception of the couple weekends we got out to camp. I have seen no friends, ignored my family, worked for upwards to sixty hours a week since May long weekend.
Confession: I love it.
I love the adrenaline, the event weekends, the sports and races that have begun to fill up my portfolio. I love the big weekends, the long days, the intensity of purpose when a whole team comes together to create an event. I love learning about different clients needs, I love bringing in teams, I love the excitement of producing a product, tangible and real. I love dealing with problems, I love seeing things I have never seen before, I love repeating events year over year and doing them better and better and better. I know in a few weeks my travel and events will come to a close and I will come down off the summer high in a massive and spectacular energy crash. This will be the time I will recharge, fill up my cup with family, friends and the hobbies I have ignored. But not now.
When I was a kid my summers were full of football. Dad was working sixty, seventy hour weeks. We went from practices to games to scouting trips, we lived and died by game scores and players and injuries. I'm convinced I had the very best childhood ever, and I never did any of the aforementioned list of "summer activities of normal people". We did sport, we did football. This was my summer.
In my adulthood the irony is not lost on me that I have landed in a career - a career I purposely created - that looks remarkably like the the summers I had as a kid. The summer I can't seem to escape from, and don't want to.
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.