The Impermanence of Peace

Everything is impermanent. Thoughts, feelings, ideas, people, and even ourselves.

Impermanence can be a valuable tool.

One of my true joys in life is the calm that I often find during meditation. It allows me to find what in the end is all I really need - peace.

But I also know from years of meditating that that sense of peace is fleeting. On a good day, I may be able to hold on to the deep inner peace for a few hours. But ultimately, like everything else, it fades away and I'm back into the turbulence of my own thoughts.

Retired = Renewed?

Accepting Permanence of Busyness.

I am referring to Busyness, not the 'business' that relates to making a living (although I think some retrospection of the two may prove helpful).

Those who were successful in business tend to be successful in retirement. They've learned to embrace the 'busyness' of retirement in the same way they embraced the 'business' of making a living.

One of the illusions of retirement is that you ever escape the busyness of life.

In realty, what actually occurs is that you wake up everyday with this nagging sense that you don't want to miss out on the time you've been working towards your entire life... retirement! This is your life and you begin to realize that the window is starting to close. NO! I'm finally enjoying my life and I don't want it to end!

So if you are reading this and hoping to find a solution to your constant busy-ness (which is why time management is a multi-billion industry), I'm hear to give the truth - there's no cure for busyness.

The best you can do is embrace it, leverage it, and make the most of your busy life!

The more we know, the more our minds seek to do something with what we know.

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Rescue Your Schedule From “Busy”

You’re doing too much. All of us (if we have good, honest friends or mentors) have probably heard these words at some point. Some of you are there right now. You’ve been running at a sprint for weeks—maybe months!—and it’s starting to catch up with you.

Why do we find ourselves here over and over again? And what can we do about it?

Toxic Expectations

Expectations surround you. Sometimes, they’re explicit, like your dad teaching you the best leaders are the first to arrive and the last to leave. Sometimes, they’re implicit, like in the strategic silences your mom uses to speak volumes about your decision to send your kids to public school.

And sometimes, they’re impersonal, like the water we’re swimming in. Think of the pressure to reinvent yourself, the glorification of “busy,” the “always on” effect created by our phones, or the burnout culture of your company.

These external expectations can quietly become internalized. We feel urgency or pressure to act in a certain way, elevating a decision to the point of morality with a well-placed should: I should stay abreast of current events. I should attend that baby shower. I should set aside time for learning and development. I should be accessible to my team 24/7.

Expectations aren’t bad. In fact, they can be crucial, calling us toward our better selves. However, unexamined expectations frequently lead to overload. We all want to be good leaders, spouses, parents, friends, community members, and people. But if we don’t define what “good” looks like, based on some level of factual research and personal values, someone else will define it for us—likely without us realizing it.

Define Your Win

In the book Win at Work and Succeed at Life, Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt Miller discuss a principle called your “non-negotiables.” These are your highest priorities that define success.

One person’s parenting non-negotiables might include school pickup, while another’s prioritize morning connection or a bedtime ritual. One person’s work non-negotiables might include limiting meetings to 50% of their calendar, while another’s prioritize limiting phone use or offering “open door” hours with their team.

When you define your non-negotiables, you’re separating other people’s expectations from your own. This separation is a form of what psychologists call “differentiation,” in which you can say, “That’s you. This is me. You can think that, and I do not have to agree.”

Freeing Your Calendar

Once you have your non-negotiables identified, take another look at your calendar. It might help to print out a blank calendar sheet. Because that’s how we’re going to start: With a completely blank slate.

Now, consider your commitments one at a time. Is it reflective of your priorities? If so, add it to the schedule. If you’re motivated by a sense of “should” coming from somewhere outside you, it’s a candidate for elimination.

If it is one of your priorities but doesn’t require problem-solving or original thought, consider finding ways to automate the activity—like leveraging a weekly grocery pickup that auto-populates your usual items or scheduling a recurring date night blocked on your calendar.

If it requires problem-solving or human participation, consider whether you could delegate by enlisting someone else. Could your brother pick your kids up when he picks up your niece? Could your friend pick up the books you have on hold at the library and hand them off to you at an upcoming dinner? Could you pay your handy friend to look at your mom’s broken washing machine?

Notice the impact of expectations. Identify your personal priorities. Then, leverage elimination, automation, and delegation to create the space you need in your calendar.

“Busy” is overrated. Prioritize what matters and give yourself a break.

One thing that matters is life planning - and we've created our biggest product since the Planner to help with this - LifeFocus.

LifeFocus is a gamified approach to identify your personal mission, core values, your current trajectory and chart a 10-year life vision.

We hosted our LifeFocus retreat last week and it was a rousing success! Be sure to check out what everyone is talking about.