Being busy means there is no time to stop. Like we’re living in this limbo of errands and poor time management. There’s a deeply negative undertow to it.
I am not busy. I never want to be busy.
As a dad with a toddler and a three week old newborn* in the mix, there’s a fair bit of life admin that screams (often literally) for my attention.
Our laundry baskets (yep, we have multiple) are always 80% full. I am convinced there’s, at least, one other family living in our house that I haven’t been told about yet.
But there are tasks that should be done and tasks that need to be done. If a task is not important, it’ll get pushed over to the curb enough times until everyone involved forgets it.** Because it wasn’t a priority.
And this incredibly scientific formula sort of explains it.
Should be done = not a priority Needs to be done = a priority
Too busy to cook. Too busy to train. Too busy to meditate. Too busy to jazz. Too busy, not because there is no time, but because it’s not a priority.
We shouldneed to stop saying “I’m too busy”. It makes us overwhelmed. Like we’re not enough. Like we don’t have enough time. Like we can’t manage.
What if we would move away from too busy and adopt not a priority.
What if instead of “I didn’t eat well in the last two days. I was busy with work and didn’t have time to cook”, you’d go “I didn’t eat well in the last two days, I was focusing on work and cooking wasn’t a priority.”
By rephrasing the statement, we acknowledge the realities of the current situation. We own our decision to focus on work instead of cooking and eating well.
Now, I could list ways to make healthy eating a possibility even when focusing on work… Followed by another list on why cooking should be a long-term priority. But I resist. Instead…
List your priorities.
The order of your priorities changes over time. And as life changes, some old priorities will be taken up by new ones.
But if you’re like me, you have a set of foundational priorities in life forming the arch of your being.
*And that’s why you haven’t heard from me for a while. **Things with accompanying literal screams usually do get done.
My life becomes busy when poor time management practice clashes with not having my priorities right. That’s all it is. To me, “being busy” belongs in the same category as “I am not motivated”. Both statements are just the end result from lack of discipline.
Lack of discipline to get away with not doing shit I don’t feel like doing.…
Let’s rewind first what 80% rule is all about and then apply it to everything.
We’ve already established that 80% rule works wonders for training. Something that I wrote about in here after being enlightened about it by Max Shank. It means that if you can do 12 reps on a given weight do 9, and so on. Always leave some in the tank. …
If there is one thing I hear more than anything else it’s “Joonas, what kind of conditioner do you use for your hair?” But, that’s not what this article is about. Which brings me to the second most often heard sentence, “Joonas, I am too busy to exercise.”
Well, it’s not always those exact words, but to keep things rolling that’s what it boils down to.
Finding and committing time for training can be hard, especially if your enjoyment level with exercise is somewhere on-par with getting root-canal done at the dentist. Hey, just being honest here since I know that a lot of people don’t enjoy training, at all.
That being said, I am yet to meet anyone who doesn’t enjoy the feeling after the fact, or can flat out deny that moving regularly hasn’t made a difference to their body and mind.
I am not asking you to throw everything out and make training your number one priority.
Let’s be honest here. It’s rare that you don’t have any time for exercise. Rather, you value other things more than movement so you are reacting to arising issues and pushing the scheduled training to the bottom of the list. Instead of proactively making exercise a priority.
I’ve taken the freedom to make the tasks more relevant to us.
Q1:Important and Urgent – Tasks that need to be done NOW. Or, yesterday. Usually stuff that Chad down the hall “delegates” to you.
Q2:Important and Non-Urgent – Planning and prevention so you can eliminate as many other quadrants in the future. Usually complicated tasks that when done right have a huge positive impact for the future. The results are not usually immediate which is why a lot of people avoid this quadrant.
Q3:Non-Important and Urgent – Facebook, email and stuff that “everyone else is doing it so it must be a priority”.
Q4:Non-Important and Non-Urgent – Similar to Q3 but just simply a bunch of time wasters. Things such as playing Candy Crush or watching The Kardashians* would most likely fall into here. By the way, Game of Thrones would fall into Q2. Seriously.
As you can tell, training, exercise, cooking healthy and tasty meals and tracking your yearly blood work would land in Q2. These are tasks that will make your life better in the future, but are hard to follow up since they can feel like time wasters at this moment. You don’t get that immediate positive feedback. Well, maybe with cooking you do.
You might think you are the captain of the ship but truthfully, you are someone else’s shitkicker.
It’s easy to fall into doing tasks Q1 because it feels like you are doing the busy work and ticking things of the list. It’s exhilarating! You feel like shit is getting done.
But you are likely reacting to matters that are important to other people, not necessarily to you or to your long-term plan. You might think you are the captain of the ship but truthfully, you are someone else’s shitkicker.
Then there are Q3 and Q4 that are so easy to fall into because most of the tasks here are somewhat pleasant. Or as is with Q1, they feel as if you are doing something important. Well, you are but without eyes on the long-term goals.
Answering to that fifth email from Chad on, whatever Chad writes about, is addictive. And sitting on the couch playing Candy Crush or watching what color nail polish Kim is going wear to the supermarket this morning is exciting! Or maybe it’s just me…
Anyhoo, important tasks that are not urgent require you to be more proactive. You have to take more initiative because it’s not something you can easily tick of the list as “done”. It’s an ongoing process of making things better for the long term.
THE GOOSE AND THE GOLDEN EGG
I know you got excited but this has nothing to do with Top Gun.
It all comes down to what Covey calls your product (P) / product capacity (PC) balance. Turning things into health means your body is the P and what you can do with your body is PC. If all you do is focus on the PC while ignoring your P you will eventually run into a dead-end.
You will milk your body (sorry for the image) for all it’s resources while ignoring to maintain it as healthy as you can. Overtime this means less productivity, not only at work, but it also limits how much you can enjoy other aspects of your life outside of work.
You will milk your body for all it’s resources.
If you keep ignoring your health and daily movement practice long enough what you’ll notice is that Q1 activities will start to come up often.
You will get sick (need to react to this illness), you will move poorly, feel tight and sore, might even be in pain (need to react to this by getting physical therapy etc), you will feel like crap since you are not sleeping enough (need to make a speedball to stay awake – well, hopefully not, but still).
Ignoring Q2 is like fixing the leaking roof problem with a bucket to catch the water. Instead of actually sealing the ceiling with a silicon sealant (say that fast ten times).
*Getting all Kanye here.
How To Find More Time for Healthy Habits (Updated July 2018)
One of the biggest obstacles most people have with training or healthy cooking is time. Or the lack of it. I get it; you feel like there is not enough time in the day to fit everything in.
Yet, I am sure that at times you have been busy and something came up that just had to get done. Maybe you got invited to a party you couldn’t say no to. Or something urgent came up at work that needed attention yesterday. In those situations, somehow magically it seems, the extra time just appears from a thin air.