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A ‘Shultz Hour’

One of my favourite podcasters is Debbie Millman.

Design Matters, her podcast, is such a high-quality, though-provoking listen.

Thanks to her, one of my mantras for years now has been ‘busy is a decision’.

She likes to talk about how her students will often say they’re too busy to study or do homework or take on extra projects.

‘Busy is a decision’ is my iPhone background because it reminds me that I choose where to put my time.

If I want to try something new, what will I sacrifice?

If I’m not prioritising something, is it because it’s unimportant, or because I’d rather put my time elsewhere?

This quote also reminds me of how Mark Ritson likes to talk about the example of George Shultz, Reagan’s secretary of state.

“My wife or the president”

Every week Shultz would carve out one solid hour where the only people who could disturb him were his wife or the president.

He’d shut himself away in his office with a pen and a piece of paper and think about what really matters.

I did that for the first time this weekend and it really helped me gain clarity on how I wanted my week to look and what my distractions were.

I created a mindmap of my priorities and the things that were bugging me but that I just couldn’t let go of. I was able to find the #1 priority in each category and that really helped.

Next time I do it I’m going to add Stephen R. Covey’s (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) ‘Four Quadrants’, the time management matrix, and combine that with the excellent Todoist.

If you want the full background on the Shultz Hour, check out David Leonhardt’s piece in the New York Times.