$10 Tim started this Tuesday, determined to win the day.
He pinned Ellie’s colored Rainbow to his cubicle as a reminder for why he works in the first place: to support his family.
(There would be no In-and-Out burger today, just a smoothie and Greek salad. His health turnaround begins today.)
As Tim began his daily Inbox Zero ritual, he felt his phone vibrate.
“That’s weird,” he said to himself.
After yesterday’s debacle (👈 catch up on Tim and Tina), he thought he had shut off all notifications from his Coinbase account.
It turns out, this time it was his task manager letting him know that he had some overdue tasks.
He quickly scanned these tasks and Pay Rent jumped out. Crap! He’d left his checkbook at home and it needs to be postmarked by today.
To ensure this wouldn’t fall through the cracks (their condo has a $250 late payment fee) he writes it down in his notebook and adds it as a calendar event for that evening.
Then he marks it done. (That swoosh noise feels so good.)
The three other tasks were a series of recurring tasks aimed to prevent him from “hitting the snooze” button, on his life’s most important priorities.
The hibiscus tea and daily meditation were for his rising blood pressure.
“I’ll get to those shortly,” he told himself.
Which left: Check in with Kathy (intimacy).
Now, unfortunately for Tim – it wasn’t the Bow Chicka Wow Wow type of intimacy. In fact, he wasn’t totally sure what she meant by “emotional intimacy,” but his wife kept bringing up how couples in their 40s start drifting apart.
Tim had listened some podcasts on love, so he opened up Roam to read some of his notes.
He first searched “Relationship” but it came up blank. He then tried “love” but that pulled up 47 results. That wasn’t helpful.
Finally, he landed on “marriage” which pulled up a paragraph from Dr. John Gottman from the Love Lab. His notes read:
- In a relationship, each person is making “bids” towards the other person.
- These bids can be big or small, verbal or non-verbal.
- A bid could be a brief glance that quietly says, “I’m having a rough day, I need a hug.”
- When a bid occurs, you can turn into the bid (i.e. give the hug) or turn away from the bid (i.e. pretend like it never happened).
- In every relationship, there is a mental accounting of bids.
- If the number gets too high (i.e. a partner turns away more often than towards), it’s a leading indicator for divorce.
Tim is confused. He genuinely doesn’t know how to keep himself accountable with these gray area tasks. He’s got to stop hitting the “snooze” button on them.
Every Tuesday at 9 AM, $10K Tina has special meeting with herself. It shows up for 30 minutes as Vision Setting.
(Yes, with the rocketship emoji at the end.)
Tina gave up using fake due dates years ago. No matter how hard she tried, her brain always (like seriously, always) knew that they were fake.
But that didn’t solve her conundrum of how to tackle life’s most important priorities, which unfortunately never have due dates.
It’s the infamous top-right quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix. The “Important, but Not Urgent.”
It’s home to the things you hit snooze on (ahem, high blood pressure), only to have them bite you in the butt years later.
But Tina is determined to crack the code on this part of her family’s life. And it’s for a selfish reason.
In 2025 – four years from now – when her eldest son has a year left of Middle School, they’re planning a B.R.F.A.
What’s that, you ask?
A Big Rad Family Adventure.
When COVID gave both her and her husband the ability to work fully remote, they decided they were going to travel for a year.
With two pre-teen boys. Yup, they are voluntarily going back to home schooling. (Seriously, kudos to them.)
The family is hyped. They’ve got surf spots mapped out in Sri Lanka, a camping safari in Kenya and an entire summer in Iceland to see the Northern Lights.
$10 Tim takes some comfort in the fact that most people struggle with these intermediate activities which don’t have due dates. He recently attended the $10K Bootcamp on leverage, goal-setting and prioritization and 84% of the attendees (all high-performing knowledge workers and entrepreneurs) either hadn’t set goals or weren’t on track to hit their goals.
The mere thought of drifting apart from Kathy quietly terrifies him.
He thinks he’s got the answer. He fires up Chrome and opens Reddit.
Tim’s spent a lot of time on the r/selfimprovement subreddit. He’s devoured threads on overcoming procrastination, the morning routines of high-achievers and how to get better sleep.
After an 75 minutes of scrolling, he finds that many Redditors share his struggles. Tim leaves with a toolkit of solutions:
- Daily journaling using the Day One app
- The Streaks app to gamify these tricky tasks
- FutureMe, which lets you send a letter to your future self
- A decked out Notion template to monitor moods, emotions, and internal blockers
(Tim, after all, can’t resist the siren’s song of Shiny New Toy Syndrome.)
He creates 4 new tasks to download these apps and looks up at his watch.
Crap, he looks at his watch. It’s 11:45 and he’s got a meeting at noon that he hasn’t prepared for.
The hibiscus tea, 10 minutes of Meditation and Check-in with Kathy will all have to wait.
He marks them “done.”
But this time, the swoosh doesn’t feel so good.
In today’s Vision Setting meeting, $10K Tina is going to chip away at the Big Rad Family Adventure (i.e. B.R.F.A.)
The B.R.F.A is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. But it’s four years away.
This leads to a dilemma.
Tina can’t expend too much cognitive bandwidth on it today (after all, she’s got a busy life).
Yet she also can’t flat out ignore it.
If she did hit “snooze,” the B.R.F.A. would never happen. And that’s not an option.
Her Vision Setting meeting consists of three parts.
First, she checks her next action.
Tina needs to figure out the work Visa situation in the EU. Her friend Christy did a B.R.F.A and they’ll see each other on Friday at their running group. She makes a note to ask her.
Next, she reviews the B.R.F.A. finances. After running the math, Tina and her husband believe that they’ll need to save an additional $75k. She’s created a savings goal in both YNAB and on Betterment and checks to see if both goals are tracking. They are.
Finally, she does a brief future-casting exercise. She opens her journal, sets a 10 minute timer and starts writing. In Business School, she learned that this visualization technique creates simple neurological connections in her brain that enhance motivation and increases the likelihood of taking an action towards a goal.
Plus, visualizing her family on the beaches of Sri Lanka sends her stoke level through the roof!
The entire Vision Setting meeting takes 30 minutes. It’s 9:30, and she’s energized to take on the day.
Once again, Tim gets home and the first floor is a ghost town. There’s some cold left over Pad Thai on the the table and his wife’s upstairs watching Ted Lasso.
His phone buzzes. This time it’s his calendar reminding him to Pay Rent. Ah yes! A small win, he’ll avoid the $250 fee.
He grabs the checkbook and envelope. Then he realizes he’s got a problem.
His stamps are at the office.
Over the past 6 years, RadReaders have shared an ongoing struggle. They’ve been stuck in React Mode playing whack-a-mole each day:
- Getting sucked into Inbox Zero and its never-ending dopamine hits
- Feeling like a prisoner to your calendar — jumping from meeting to meeting with no time to think
- Mindlessly context-switching because you’re not sure what you should be focusing on
- I created Supercharge Your Productivity a 4-week course to get you off the hamster wheel so that you can be in control and live life on your own terms. Enroll today, we begin on 5/31 and the next cohort will be in the fall.