The 4-Hour Workweek

Re-reading this book but in a new context. The first time I read it, I was looking for an exit strategy. This time around, I’m looking at from a time management perspective: how to achieve more in less time and how to balance life with work.

“‘Someday’ is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you.” You can’t put things off waiting for the perfect conditions. I need to remember this and not put off doing what I want to do. I have a lot of things sucking up my time that don’t benefit me at all– most of it is information overload.

Two things I’ve long struggled with:

1. Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.

2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

“Being busy is a form of laziness– lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective– doing less– is the path of the productive.” -pg. 73

Pareto’s Law aka the 80/20 Principle: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. -pg. 68

“Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion. It is the magic of the imminent deadline. If I gave you 24 hours to complete a project, the time pressure forces you to focus on execution, and you have no choice but to do only the bare essentials.” -pg. 75

I’m going to start applying this idea and create false deadlines for projects just to get them out the door. This may compromise quality, but it will actually allow me to get the essentials complete and then fine-tune. Requires some testing.

Some of Their Words

Below is text from a post I wrote for our university blog. I had reservations about writing it because 1) I didn’t want to disclose too much personal information, and 2) I didn’t want to make this about me instead of about the book. However, whenever we encounter a narrative, fiction or otherwise, we come to it with your own experiences, and through the process of relating to the story, deal with those issues like therapy. So without delving too far in, I hope I struck a balance:

imageA few months ago, I started reading Dr. George Jensen’s new book Some of the Words are Theirs. I was intrigued by the premise of it, a sort of re-imagining of an absent, alcoholic father. The book is much more than this, relating stories extending from childhood to the present about his entire family’s response to a man he barely knew.

Upon his mother’s death, George came across old letters and photographs that along with his scholarly research about alcoholic narratives, prompted him to unfold a difficult truth the family had stored, a history still revolving around the father figure, George Sr. He actively sought out people who knew George Sr. before and after his paternal role began. He contacted Navy shipmates, co-workers, and others who had some affiliation with George Sr. just before he died.sign

But we learn a lot more in this exploration than a composite of George Sr. In fact, as much as George discovers who this man was, apart from shared biology, the character of George Jr. increasingly fleshes out.

Admittedly, it took me awhile to get through it, not because my father is an alcoholic (he’s not), nor was he absent during my youth. Still, I could easily relate to George’s story because the person that I know my father to be is in many ways a completely different person the rest of the world sees. As a pastor of a church, he is loved by many. But our relationship has always been complicated, and I have often reacted bitterly to the disconnect.

As George began to re-imagine his father from the perspective of colleagues, themselves strangers, to see him as a separate individual from their eyes, “outside the role of husband or father or alcoholic,” I tried to re-imagine mine, detaching the simplified labels. And as George says he began to care about his father, I decided to let my dad off the hook for what I deemed parental ineptitude, with a new appreciation that we all have things to forgive.

This summer, George will journey across the U.S., in Steinbeckian fashion. His blog provides us a somewhat day-by-day commentary on what he uncovers or encounters along the way.

If you favor 140 characters or less, you can also follow along on Twitter. (For the uninitiated, it’s the brevity that counts.)