Amidst the various equalities throughout our world; wealth, culture, educational opportunities, food security, etc., there lies one resource that will always be provided in equal measure.
Every week our clock resets with 168 units (hours) of time that systematically tick off each second for 604,800 consecutive beats.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Edward called me last week and asked simply, “why does Cynthia stay till 630 every night to get her work done? Every week, she is logging overtime in a role that has never needed overtime.”
Business owners around the world are asking, “how do I make time for everything?”
Key leaders and employees ask the same, “how do we make time for everything?”
Before we suggest a helpful strategy, it is first crucial that we dive into why we can’t seem to make time for everything.
The answer lies somewhere within the not-so-forgotten path of silence.
During the year 2020, the American culture played its part in a pandemic that was plagued by rhythmless noise without the solid drumbeat of coordination, vision, and planning. Within that pandemic lodged a feverish height of social, political, and racial topsyterviness.
The beginning of 2021 did not relent as the Government spiraled in response to an insurrection within the Capital building fueled at the highest level of power.
The headline for each evening news program became a ping pong match of interchangeable breaking news revolving between COVID and protests.
Over time, although both were incredibly serious and important, the coverage became noise…not sound, not information…noise.
Interesting to look at the evolution of the word noise.
It is said to have meant “quarreling” in the Middle English voice.
More insightful though is the Latin room that noise is birthed out of…nausea.
You know that green feeling you get when you are on a boat in the ocean and it just won’t stop pitching and yawing? That is what incessant noise does to us.
It nauseates the mind. It causes a seasickness of sorts for the brain that creates a fog where our only goal is to stop feeling sick.
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I heard recently a couple say this of the importance of our physical health, “when you are healthy you have a thousand dreams, but when you are ill you have but one dream.”
Why can’t we make time for everything at work? Why can’t we make time for everything at home? Why can’t we make time for everything regarding our hobbies, interests, and relationships?
We have mind-nausea in response to the breaking news of everything.
We have only one next step...turn the noise off and embrace intentional silence.
In his reflective book The Power Of Silence, Robert Cardinal Sarah writes, “Without noise, man is feverish, lost. Noise gives him security, like a drug on which he has become dependent. With its festive appearance, noise is a whirlwind that avoids facing itself.”
Sarah goes on to write, “Agitation becomes a tranquilizer, a sedative, a morphine pump…But this noise is dangerous, deceptive medicine, a diabolic lie that helps man avoid confronting himself in his interior emptiness. The awakening will necessarily be brutal.”
Wow, “noise is a whirlwind that avoids facing itself.”
Why can’t I make time for everything? Because we do not want to do the hard work of facing ourselves…facing our real work.
It is so much easier to bang out some emails in the name of work.
It is so much easier to watch a tutorial video in the name of work.
It is so much easier to do the easier thing in the name of work.
It is so much easier to listen to the latest, loudest voice asking us to do something that seemed important in the moment, just to find out it was another distraction along the neon-lit path of noise.
Noise to me is a lot like Vegas; a lot of lights, a lot of motion, a lot of activity, a lot of busy…
And a lot of regrets.
All the while noise rages and the important work gets left undone.
Still, Blaise Pascal’s quote remains one of my favorites, “All the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot sit quietly in their own homes.”
Noise is hitting refresh on the news site. Noise is scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. Noise is a life on auto-piloted repeat with no thought of stopping or interjecting. Noise is whatever is taking you from your real work.
In one of the great parenting moments in history, Manoah, a Jewish father at the time that Israel was led by a series of judges, asks God, “what is the mission of this child to be?”
In other words, what is the important work you have created this child to carry out?
That is my question for you today, what is the important work that you have been created to carry out?
It might be bookkeeping, teaching, sweeping, coordinating, calling, documenting, estimating, bidding, flying, diagnosing, or calming.
Noise will most certainly keep you from that important work and lock you into a nauseating diet of ick.
The question remains, how do you make time for everything?
Instead, make time for the things that matter…and not everything matters.
We train our heroic business owners and key leaders to build a simple ideal weekly schedule.
If you were to list out all of the important work that you need to tackle each week, what is it and how long would each task take?
Block it all out throughout a weekly calendar in what Cal Newport would call “deep work” blocks of time.
Share that weekly schedule with the people that matter most and ask their permission to help you live by it. Cut out the noise. Cut out the nausea. Get healthy and all of a sudden you will have a thousand dreams…instead of just one.
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.