Don’t Do It

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” – Fight Club, Tyler Durden

just throw it all away

Anyone else in the same boat?

Here we are, a few weeks into 2022, and my calendar is already a complete train wreck.

I honestly don’t know what happened; I have systems in place with “blocks,” say ‘no’ to meetings without agendas and decline things that waste time.

Yet every day is overbooked; what the heck happened.

Stress is doing something you don’t care about, with time that you do. - Do Lectures

I guess the real question for me now is ‘what am I going to do about it.’ There is always the option of just Thanos snapping the calendar and randomly going through the next four weeks and deleting half of my meetings.

The upcoming time would be ‘perfectly balanced, as all things should be,’ but that feels a tad harsh. I started to get some motivation to help from a tweet earlier in the week that I’m taking stock of to get back into the groove:

Solve by Subtracting. The mindset reminds me a lot of what Greg McKeown talks about in his excellent book, Essentialism.

The theme of Essentialism is around discipline that you need when faced with saying yes or no to something. He describes three things around learning to do less but better: the ability to make trade-offs of lots of good things vs. a smaller number of great things.

  1. Individual choice: We can choose how to spend our energy and time. Without choice, there is no point in talking about trade-offs.
  2. The prevalence of noise: Almost everything is noise, and a very few things are exceptionally valuable. This is the justification for taking time to figure out what is most important. Because some things are so much more important, the effort in finding those things is worth it.
  3. The reality of trade-offs: We can’€™t have it all or do it all. If we could, there would be no reason to evaluate or eliminate options. Once we accept the reality of trade-offs, we stop asking, ‘€œHow can I make it all work?’ and start asking the more honest question ‘€œWhich problem do I want to solve?’

I’ve started to solve this by subtracting things that dont help me solve problems. Remove a bunch of noise, and figure out what’s important.

For some real “no” inspiration, here are 3 minutes of people saying “no” in movies.

If you enjoy these posts, you can buy me a coffee ☕️, or if you’d rather keep up with my daily ramblings, follow me on Twitter or keep reading my posts on this blog.

Forward Thinking

I recently discovered Coffee with Jaimee when a colleague recommended her new book, “12 Ways to Be Better to Work With. Interpersonal Skills for People Who Work With Other People.

Besides being a great book (and a quick read), what I’ve been a fan of is her Instagram. Explained as “Constantly experimenting my way through life. Usually over coffee. Sharing my learnings & feelings along the way.”, she does some truly amazing doodles over coffee stains.


A post shared by Coffee With Jaimee (@coffeewithjaimee)

I picked up my copy directly from her website (order here), and it comes with one of her fantastic coffee art designs.

Thought of the week

I’ve used this technique as part of managing the calendar - I often will send mail back if there’s no plan, and this is a great way to discover if you need to be there.

Here are a few of the articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • A huge relief, so stop worrying how others are judging you, apparently “Research Confirms That No One Is Really Thinking About You” - More
  • I am a huge believer in “time back,” specifically having 25/50 minute meetings (instead of 30 or 60). Here’s a tip of the week if you use Outlook: “Give yourself time back and make your Outlook meetings shorter.” It has instructions if you use Outlook on the Mac as well on how you can enable this via the web client (it’s not built into the app) - More
  • Walking more is one of my significant 2022 habits. In the amazing “The ‘Rules’ of Walking,” Craig Mod discusses some of the functions and features that he explores when walking - More
  • Flagging Fear” is a great read on how to pivot yourself to “run towards fear mentally.” I have tried to teach, not only as a parent but also as someone who runs teams, to embrace fear. There’s a ton of value in identifying, confronting and taking risks. - More
  • Easily the ‘post of the week,’ Om asks an important question: “Can we ever become Post-Social?”. In many ways, we all have become used to broadcasting everywhere thanks to social networks, and we have become addicted to the idea of having an audience. Poignant read as these networks are now becoming weaponized - More
  • On the lighter (hah) side of things, “After 72 years, FDA says French dressing won’t have a legal definition”. Apparently, there was a 'standard of identity for French dressing (legally since 1950) that required it be at least 35 percent vegetable oil - More
  • The 4 Identities of a Teacher: Reporter, Expert, Mentor, Role Model” explores the notion that everyone should become lifelong teachers and the various roles they play - More
  • The big multitasking lie” correctly pins down that success‘is not to do many things at once; instead, it resides in our ability to give our complete and exclusive attention to the highest priority task in every moment.’ - More
  • A pivot toward’s the humor of McSweeney’s - “Introducing Horrible Purple, Pantone’s Color of the Year Inspired by COVID-19 Heat Maps”. Enough said, and I can’t wait for ‘Holy Fucking Shit Plum’ next year - More
  • As mentioned last week, Wordle has taken the world by storm. “Wordle letters” does a dive down the rabbit hole on the technical aspect of 5-letter-word challenges and the letter frequencies - More
  • The future that no one asked for, yet is here: “Farmer gives cooped-up cows VR headsets to increase milk production” - More


Wrapping up this week with a new video from Simon Sinek on taking the ‘risk of honesty.’ The video nails it: being clear and transparent on not only what you can do, but more importantly, what you can’t do, is the key to building long-lasting, trustful relationships.

Be well. ✌🏻