Over the weekend I devoured John Eldredge’s new book, Get Your Life Back: Everyday Practices For A World Gone Mad.
A line in his introduction had me hooked as he was laying out the purpose of the book,
“I found myself flinching when a friend texted and asked for some time. I didn’t want to open email for fear of the demands I’d find there…It made me wonder — am I becoming a less loving person?”
How I wish that line didn’t resonate when I read it. But it did.
Towards the final pages of the book Eldredge diagnoses what is really going on,
“…these are symptoms that we’re running on fumes.”
Chaos is a gas-guzzler and has a high emotional fuel burn rate especially for those in the service and “helper” industries.
As you build and grow your business, here are low to no-cost steps you can take to both re-fuel while burning less fuel.
First, make time for a daily walk. This may or may not be your regular sweat-exercise. The goal with a walk is to get outside. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend 93% of their life indoors.
Eldredge puts it in a deeper perspective saying that if you live to be 100 years old, 93 of those years have been spent indoors.
In her article The Daily Routines Of Geniuses, Sarah Green Carmichael reflects on the outdoor walking habits of the greats like Dickens (3 hours per day), Tchaikovsky (2 hours per day), and Kierkegaard who would “often rush back to his desk and resume writing, still wearing his hat and carrying his walking stick.
I have been taking a walk most days just around my street (it’s a big circle) for the last few years. It is restorative.
Second, time block your week. We have business owners tell us regularly that time blocking their week has been one of the most clarifying disciplines they have installed. One business owner even told me a few weeks ago, “it has literally changed my life.”
Time blocking your week means that you own your week instead of your week owning you. Time blocking means that when someone reaches out to you to connect, then you get the share the times you are available while feeling confident in the times that you are not available.
We delivered a powerful webinar called Owning Your Schedule: Stop Wasting Hours Every Week On Small, Boring Tasks That Never Really Add To Your Life. You can watch the replay here:
One humble suggestion as you layout the hours of each day in your time block. Go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. There is typically not much good happening late, and there is a whole lot of peace and quiet if you are willing to get up early.
Third, find a private workspace without distractions. The open office concept is cool to look at and yet is killing focus and deep work.
We rent a space in town where we have the majority of our in person, and online client interactions, but then I retreat to my upstairs home office overlooking my backyard most Mondays and Fridays.
Those are the days that I spend preparing for the Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Although we have minimal general foot tracker in our conference room space, distractions still abound.
In most cases, your workspace as an owner is too accessible. You don’t have to rent a separate space. Do you have a home office, or a study room at the local public library, or a corner booth at Panera bread with a powerful set of headphones?
Time block segments of your week at your private office where no one except your loved-ones can find you.
Finally, ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.
I wish I had come up with that, but it is a line from my favorite author and thinker Dallas Willard.
Theologian Robert Banks points out that
“…our society is rich in things, but poor in time”.
Last week I sat with a dear friend in Nigeria for a little over an hour and then mentioned that I needed to head to the next meeting, his response was quiet and simple, “you can be late.”
The West African context is rich in relationships and time, but poor(er) in things.
Even writing this I am already looking forward to the next thing…as I am sure you are too as you read or listen.
Go for a walk.
But you respond, “none of that will work for me…you don’t understand my world.”
Then you will need to embrace chaos.
But you don’t have to.
Want to invest more time in building a business on purpose? You can register for our next Business On Purpose Webinar free here at BOPWebinar.com.
Scott Beebe is the founder of Business On Purpose, author of Let Your Business Burn: Stop Putting Out Fires, Discover Purpose, And Build A Business That Matters. Scott also hosts The Business On Purpose Podcast and can be found at mybusinessonpurpose.com.