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Issue #26: When Things Get Crazy

We tend to think about what we'd like to be doing a lot; we see another parent with a yoga mat while

James Costa

September 13 · Issue #26 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

We tend to think about what we’d like to be doing a lot; we see another parent with a yoga mat while dropping their kids off at school and we think about needing to see if there are any local yoga classes, we drive past the gym and we think about how we need to pass by and get a membership. We mentally piece together what this fantastic life would be in these fleeting moments that end up getting lost with a reminder on our phones that we’re near the grocery store and we should pick up some bread.
And hey: that’s not a bad thing, right? Things are crazy. Work is tough, life is hard, you’ve got enough going on. You’ll do it later, or even better: you’ll make it a New Year’s Resolution. There just aren’t enough hours in a day, after all.
Here’s the thing: there are enough hours in a day, and you can do those things. I’m not saying you should give up on sleep. If you work a 60 hours per week (which is overkill), sleep 8 hours a night (which most of us don’t), and spend 1 hour eating 3 meals per day: you have roughly 30 hours left in your week left over. What we do with that remaining time defines who we choose to be.
In school you have your elective and compulsory classes. In this case, the compulsory things are fixed: sleep, work, chores, eating, etc. The electives are things like spending time with friends, watching Stranger Things, or going to the beach: they help get you through the monotony of the compulsory, and many times can help take you to new heights. In school you plan what you want to do and where it leads you. In life, we tend not to.
I’m not here to talk to you about changing your life. Let’s break it down to a smaller chunk: imagine planning out your day. What would that look like? For me, it’d probably look something like:
  • 6:00am: wake up, check emails, do daily Elevate session
  • 6:15am: make breakfast shake, do yoga (or, 3 days a week go to the gym)
  • 6:45am: sit down and get some work done
  • 7:30am: get son ready for school, read book (avoid computer)
  • 8:30am: take my son to school
  • 9:00am: get working
  • 12:00pm: have lunch
  • 1:00pm: get back to work
  • 3:30pm: pick up son
  • 4:00pm: make sure son is done homework, organized, check in on work as needed
  • 5:00pm: start making dinner
  • 6:00pm: eat dinner
  • 7:30pm: son to sleep
  • 9:30pm: no more screens, do short meditation
  • 9:45pm: read a book
  • 10:00pm: go to sleep
Now, realistically 99% of those things won’t get done exactly as listed, and I don’t believe life can be that compactly compartmentalized. It’s in the midst of the craziness that we tend to give up. For myself, what’s been useful is creating tasks for everything (whether in a notepad by my bed, a notepad in my bag, on Wunderlist, or with Slackbot’s reminders functionality). Not only has it helped me to make sure I don’t forget things when the tornado hits, but it also helps me to keep track of those ideas of things that I’d like to try. This is easy enough to say, but unless you have productivity skills, productivity tools are useless.
Just by creating a plan and trying to stick to it I think we can strive for something (and adjust as needed). We create these vision boards for life, but so think of it like a vision board for your schedule. It won’t happen if you can’t visualize it, and you can’t start anything unless you write it down. You shouldn’t start with a new schedule all at once right away: start small, and grow.
PS: If you like being able to keep track of how you’re doing, apps like Momentum can help you keep track of your goals, and when it doubt you can have someone who can hold you accountable (friend, partner, mentor, personal trainer, etc). Setting a weekly day / time to reset before the start of a fresh week is important as well, even if just to adjust your expectations for yourself for the coming week.
PPS: Sorry for the delay in this week’s issue. I’ve had some pretty crazy allergies as the seasons have been changing, and nights have been particularly bad. Here’s to a week sans nasal congestion!
PPPS: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or putting my name on a can of Coca-Cola, it would mean the world to me.

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“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”
- Thomas A. Edison
A few months ago my wife and I bought a house in Toronto, and I’ve been slowly but surely buying tech to both automate and improve it. It started with a Sonos, then the Nest, and now I’m eyeing the August (check out all these sweet things it can do with IFTTT!). So much tech, so little time.
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
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