Planning a 30 hour work week

Mother Nature is a fickle beast.

Especially when it comes to waves.

Surfing, unfortunately cannot be scheduled.

There’s the wind. The tides. The swell direction. The sandbars.

In Manhattan Beach, the optimal “surf window” is between sunrise and 11 am.

So, here’s how I plan each week.

First, I block out the surf window. Yup, no calls or meetings until 11 am PT. (Except the occasional Europe call at 10:30 am.)

Next, I block out 30 minutes of Thinking Time. I may sound silly, but when was the last time you allocated time to think about your career, relationships or life direction?

Then, I leave Fridays totally open. No meetings. No calls.

(In fact, when peers/friends try to schedule calls during the week, I tell them “Just call me any Friday, I’m wide open.”)

Lastly, I aim to shut my laptop around 6. Which leaves roughly 30 hours of work.

Of course, this is the life of a remote-only business owner who isn’t vying to maximize profits-at-all-costs.

But whether you’re a W-2 employee or a Vice President at a Fortune 500 company, you can apply these 3 principles to master the art of strategic laziness.

The good news about Free Time

I know you’re saying to yourself that there’s NO WAY you could create a life with that much free time. Thankfully, there’s some good news.

It comes to us via Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time, and Focus on What Matters Most by UCLA professor Cassie Holmes.

Holmes begins by stating the obvious. If you have too little free time, your health, relationships and stress will suffer.

But, there’s such thing as too much free time. After 5 hours free time, happiness starts to decline because you feel lost, purposeless and bereft of meaning.

And while 5 hours may still like a stretch, remember that the average person spends 147 minutes a day on Social Media.

So how can you free up more free time?

1. Embrace strategic laziness

We all read the headlines about Messi’s iconic World Cup performance. And that he walks a lot.

Source: The New Yorker

Messi recognizes that not only is the “brute force approach to work” ineffective – it leads to burnout.

The parallel for knowledge workers is making time to think. Two of my favorite $10K Questions are:

If I could only work 2 hours today, what would I work on?

What’s one decision that removes 100 decisions?

2. Delegate ruthlessly

While we’re on the topic of outworking, I’m focused on eliminating what I call the $1K Work trap.

It’s called the $1K Work trap because that’s our zone of high skill.

And delegating always is often accompanied by a cold hard truth. You could do the thing better and faster than the person that you’re delegating to.

If you don’t practice strategic laziness, it’s often much quicker to do it yourself. And that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the delgate-ee never learns how to do the task

One of the most common delegation mistakes is not breaking down the project into its most basic atomic units, which prevents identifying what can be delegated.

For example, if there was a project to “Film a YouTube video” it may be tempting to put the entire onus on the person in the video (i.e. Khe). But in reality, the tasks look as follows:

  • Write script
  • Film video
  • Edit video
  • Upload video
  • Create thumbail
  • Write description
  • Cut clips for social media

When you look at the ones that require my involvement, there’s only one task (Film Video) and I plan on ruthlessly not doing any of the others.

3. Trust in the process

Really embracing a 30 hour work week requires unlearning a narrative that has been battered into our heads since we were little kids.

It’s that narrative that for things to be good, you need to grind. You need to put in the hours. You need to suffer.

Now, I promise you. Entrepreneurship (especially during a likely recession) is no walk in the park.

But thrashing, flailing and worrying isn’t the anti-dote. In my post, should you work harder during a recession, I compared this struggle to getting caught into a riptide. One that sucks you out into the boundless ocean.

When this happens, surfers know that “not only is resistance futile – resistance could kill you.”

Instead of fighting a riptide, you need to let go — and trust that you’ll be ok.

Which includes:

Wiggling your toes. 
Slowing down your breath.
Giving the water a little fist bump.

Come join team “strategic laziness”

Are you ready to master the art of strategic laziness? Join me and a likeminded group of ambitious professionals who are looking to let go, stress less and still make their little dent on the universe. Hurry, enrollment ends on January 23rd.

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