Episode 22

#022 - Designing Your Life in 2021 and Beyond

Published on: 4th January, 2021

Today's episode helps you hit the ground running in 2021 through intentionally "Designing Your Life". Igor uses his extensive background as a designer and design leader to provide practical guidance on how to apply similar design principles to improve your life - regardless of what stage you are at personally or professionally.

We cover a ton of topics in this episode, we hope it's helpful:

  • Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett
  • How Will You Measure Your LIfe by Clayton Christensen
  • Design your life by designing your week
  • Understand your times of productivity and times of constraint throughout your day and week
  • The Career/Family Happiness Matrix
  • Think about how you spend your weeks as a "portfolio" of time investments
  • Journaling to understand how you are spending your weeks over long periods of time
  • The importance of sustained effort over time
  • Don't compare your beginning with someone else's middle

Thanks for joining us today and don't forget to hit the subscribe button or reach out at [email protected]. We'd love to hear your thoughts on productivity systems so feel free to let us know about your systems and how they are helping or causing you frustration.

Transcript

Igor Geyfman 0:09

All right. Hey, everyone. How are y'all doing?

Robert Greiner 0:11

Doing really well just ramping down for the Christmas break? So excited to take some time off? How are you doing?

Igor Geyfman 0:18

Yeah, doing pretty good. Already on the cusp of taking the rest of the year off. And so starting to also think, how do I get rolling in the new year?

Robert Greiner 0:27

thinking about as you go into:

Igor Geyfman 0:35

One of the things that I happened upon, probably five years ago, or so maybe six years ago, as a designer is not just designing a website, or an app or a poster, but how can you apply design principles to like your life? And how do you design your life? And and I like to revisit that at the beginning of each year, as a way to a reflect, what did my design intention, pay off in the last year? And then also, what's going to be my design intention?

Charles Knight 1:06

Have you read the book Designing Your Life?

Igor Geyfman 1:08

I have not?

No, Okay,

Charles Knight 1:10

I thought you were gonna go into that. But there's a book called Designing Your Life that is exactly using design thinking principles to help people through journaling and design thinking exercises to accomplish things in life,

Igor Geyfman 1:26

I should definitely read it, and see if you know what I can glean out of it. This concept came out of two things. So one of them was a book that I read a while back, one of my kind of business thinking Heroes is Clayton Christensen. He passed away fairly recently, I think, within the last two years. And when he was diagnosed with leukemia, one of the works that he started putting together was a book called How Will You Measure Your Life. And I remember, I listened to that book, as I was flying, doing consulting stuff. And I was like, this may be one of the most impactful business books that I've ever come across. And, and so that, that really resonated with me. And then the other was, I noticed that I was having very similar conversations with my colleagues. And the conversations were usually centered on like guilt. And there's those it's a life stage thing. So it's usually people who are new parents, and they were feeling guilty all the time. They're feeling guilty, because they were not dedicating themselves to their family, to the extent that they wanted to, and felt was appropriate. And they're also feeling guilty at work. Because all the effort, from an hours perspective that they used to put into work, they were not putting in anymore, they were dedicating some of those hours and some of that effort to their family. And it was like a crisis, they they didn't feel like they were performing, either at work or at home. And it was a big switch, because these folks were the same people who were high performers at work prior to having kids. And that guilt was like really eating away at them. And so I'd be having these conversations, and they're very similar. And one of the things that we started talking about is, why don't we think about designing your life in a way that maybe can help you reduce your guilt? And so those are two things that really led me to start this process of designing your life. But I should definitely read the book that you mentioned, Charles.

Charles Knight 3:28

Yeah, I'm trying to think back. I have two young daughters. I think over time, I actually learned to maybe embrace the freedom that comes from focusing on what is important. And for me, it was the kids still is the kids. And I do remember how freeing it felt to say, you know what, there's always going to be more work, you know, time is a finite resource, especially when it comes to the kids. I remember reading something. I think, like by the time you graduate high school, you will have spent, like, 95% of all the time you will ever spend with your parents. Isn't that wild? Isn't that wild? And that was that was a very profound statistic that I remember taking to heart. And once I did, yeah, it made prioritizing between work and life, career and family and everything in between a lot easier because of that clarity. So I can't remember if I felt the guilt, but I can empathize I think because I've certainly seen it another's. And I know I probably felt it too. So I love the topic. Looking forward to it.

Igor Geyfman 4:40

Yeah, and it was little things like my kid finishes school at 3:30-4 o'clock. I don't get home until seven by the time at seven o'clock and I get home there they need to go to bed. And so I spend most of my days never interacting with my young child. Part of the designing your life was this idea of you design your life by designing your week, your life is just made up of days. And so a lot of the conversations were, well, how can you rearrange your week to to make sure that you're maximizing both the things that you need to do to be a high performer at work, and to be able to spend all that great time with your kids while they're awake, and figuring out what that is. Some of it was pretty, it was pretty tactical. And I think all the things that we've been talking about with perma V, are really relevant here. perma V's not gonna, it's not opinionated in the sense that it tells you, these are the things that you need to focus on. It really like exposes, hey, these are things that are important for positive psychology for your well being. But at the end of the day, you're the designer, and you get to say, this is how much I want to invest in relationships. This is how much I want to invest in achievement. This is how much I want to invest in vitality. And you're the one that gets to gets to really decide, but it's really important to, to figure out what you're actually doing it for. I'm not a parent. And as I was having these conversations with new parents, it was really apparent to me, oh, I really should focus at work. And I'm like, Yeah, maybe. But, and by the way, they're my colleagues, them focusing at work is good for me. Because we get to share the load better. And so if I was being completely selfish, I'd be like, yeah, you should put more time in at work. So we can divide these responsibilities and so on. But at the end of the day, you know, I care about the relationship and the well being more, and I was like, the work is not going to be with you and your end days, and your family and your kids. Like that's the stuff that really matters at the end of the day. And, that's probably where you should be putting your energy you shouldn't feel so guilty, about maybe doing less at work, especially like in our previous episode, we talked about productivity systems, right? If you're able to dial in the right productivity system for yourself, you're going to be able to still perform at a high level, maybe in less amount of time. And so it gives you more freedom to rearrange your day and do things that that you really need to do.

Charles Knight 7:15

Hey, so, Igor, there's something that you mentioned in a prior episode about writing your own eulogy. And so how do you, is that part of the exercise of designing your life that you would recommend,

Igor Geyfman 7:28

We can definitely recommend it, it's like a method. It doesn't have to be the method, you can do something else. But what is important is figuring out what your big why is. And in my obituary, it was very clear, one of my big why's was family, and being a parent. And being a spouse, even though I'm not married, and I don't have kids, my obituary was very much centered, like the first paragraph, the prime paragraph was about that. And that gives me some clarity, as I go through those things, and keep those front of mind.

Robert Greiner 8:03

So tying this together, and Igor, I would just echo from a third party viewer, that you've absolutely taken the steps and exhibited behaviors over the past that really shows that what you just said around family is important to you, you've sacrificed personally, and professionally, financially, all of those things, in pursuit of family. And so I think that your behavior is certainly aligned with your values. I'm going to show the both of you a little two by two matrix on the camera, and then I'll post a link in the Slack channel. But can you all see that. So if you tie in the kind of things that you're talking about. So let's say on the x axis, you have positive family, negative family, on the y axis, you have positive work, negative work, obviously, if things are going great with your family, and things are going great at work, that's like pure happiness, right? Everything's going your way, doesn't always work that way, especially year in and year out. If you have a really positive family life, but things don't go well at work, you know, moving as fast as possible. Maybe there's a job loss, but your family's there to support you. Eventually, over the course of a career, there's still a lot of happiness there. But when you're on the negative family side, even if work goes really well, that's still you're at work, thinking about your family, things aren't going well at home, you're stressing about that you don't know when to leave, you're not sleeping as well. The happiness side just doesn't make up for even having a phenomenal career. And then the worst one is if your work or career is terrible, and your family relationships are terrible, and that's like ultimate unhappiness, and the only thing you can really control is your family side of that equation. Too much luck goes into career success. We've been fortunate that the majority of our career growth has happened in the largest expansion in human history, right, we've benefited from that. And at the end of the day, though, family well-being, you have a lot more control over, and a lot of that happiness, and Charles I was in the same position that you outlined and Igor as well, when my daughter was born, I was driving 120 miles a day. So from Dallas to Fort Worth, for a client, and then it was one of those, I would leave in the morning before she woke up. And I would get home in the evening after she was asleep. So there would be days that went by between seeing where I went, see my daughter, and that was terrible. And then you pair that in with, there's this whole nother level of life responsibility that has a gravitational pull away from work as well. So you're at work and you're like, man, I should be at home and you're at home, and you're thinking I need to, there's all this stuff I didn't finish at work, because I was trying to get home earlier. And like it's a vicious cycle. And looking back now, I absolutely realized that, like I had a lot more autonomy and control over my my work priorities, and where I spent my time and the ability to work remote and things like that. And that ultimately, like I didn't exercise at the time, and was worse off for it. So had I prioritized family a little bit more. I'm not sure I'd be in a different career space today. But I certainly wouldn't look back on that time with a tinge of regret around how I behaved and things like that in that time and how difficult it was.

Igor Geyfman:

And I want to maybe point out just because I do think that there's some folks that are listening to this podcast, and they hear the term family, or they think of a traditional sort of spouses and kids and all that sort of stuff, and they're like, that's not what I care about. That's not what I want. And it's not that this whole point of this is being opinionated about you should want family, I think you can really replace that pretty well with the word relationships. In the case of family, it's relationships with your spouse, relationships with your kids, that sort of thing, but can be other relationships for people that are not focused on, let's say, having a traditional family, because there's nothing wrong with that. And so just something to keep in mind. So I think sometimes when we say family, and you're listening to it, and you're like, that's not important to me, I don't know if I'm going to get much out of it. Feel free to replace that with relationships. And think about it that way. Because nurturing that part, that matrix that Robert showed us, we can just replace F with R. And I think it still works pretty well. And and part of the way to think about it, there's this, there's two parts to it. And Clayton talks about this, he actually talks about three parts in his book, I don't know if I want to talk about the third part. So first one is finding happiness in your career. The second one is finding happiness in your relationships. And really personal relationships is what we're talking about here. And then the third one that he mentions in the book is like staying out of jail. Like that's the third one staying out of jail was really important. And I think it was interesting, his perspective, because he was in the same Harvard Business School Class, as Jeffrey Skilling of Enron infamy, who did end up spending time in jail. And and so I think that was like, consideration, and so on. But yeah, like thinking about those two polarities, thinking about career, thinking about relationships or family. Like those are the decisions that you want to figure out. And like, how do you invest? And really, how do you invest your day? And that's why I think perma V is such a powerful framework, because I think you can think about your day, each day. And tell me what y'all think about this, because this is something I've been working on. And I share this with people that I talked to that usually comes out of conversations when somebody's like, hey, I want to talk to you about work life balance, or I feel things are out of whack. And that's when I go into this designing your day explanation in my coaching and mentoring sessions. But I think you can think of each day as an investment portfolio of time and resources in the perma v model. But you take how many is that Charles that five, six components, six components. And you're like, Okay, I'm gonna invest. You're not to invest in all six, you figure out what's important to you, where you want to make progress for whatever time period that you've chosen, and make investments. Sometimes you want to invest heavily in vitality. Robert, you mentioned earlier, that there was a time where you weren't like working out, you weren't taking care of the vitality part of your investment portfolio, and the under investment in the V had poor outcomes for you, or not ideal outcomes. And to me, it's just a helpful way to think about my day, my week as an investment portfolio and perma v seems like a very good sort of bucket framework system of like, how do I invest?

Robert Greiner:

I really like that analogy, because you end up having to rebalance your portfolio over time as some, let's call it asset classes over perform and some underperform. And so there needs to be like an actual investing this yearly rebalance. I think if you take the idea of the six buckets for perma V, which are as good as anything, it doesn't have to be it can be whatever you want but might as well start there. You can add, you can remove, you can combine whatever makes sense for you. And over time focusing on those things in proportion to how well things are going in your life, if achievement and relationships are going really well, but you don't have time to work out, maybe you make that more of a priority, you can back off on some of the other things because we're all at a fixed time of the day. And then for a three month period of time, you can really lean into one of those buckets, level it up a little bit. Your low watermark is higher than it was before. And then you just keep going over time as you sense and feel a little bit of lag or gap in one of those buckets. Is that what you were sharing the analogy?

Igor Geyfman:

Charles, what's your reaction? You're the perma v. Expert. So I'm curious how you feel perma v aligns with this investment thinking?

Charles Knight: fact, when I was planning out:

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah.

And probably I talk, it's maybe even designing your week, because that's like the chunk of time that most people live in, you design your weekend, go back to design your day. And for me, this started as a personal realization of, I'm not getting done what I want to get done in my life. That was the tension that I felt. And I started journaling. And the journaling specifically was, this is what I'm doing. This is the time of day, this is how I feel. And this is my energy level. Those were the components, right? So activity, time of day, emotion, and energy level. And I went through and I did that for a month, I really wanted to understand what I'm all about. Because there's a moment of introspection that had to happen, because I wasn't happy. And I wanted to do something different. But I didn't want to, sometimes you're not happy. And you're like, I'm just going to quit my job, or I'm just gonna quit my family or whatever it is, you make some crazy decision thinking that if I just do something way different than what I'm doing now, it's going to resolve everything. And I just don't believe that. And so I wanted to get the data. And what became clear to me as I was letting other people set my agenda for me, day after day, week after week. And that might sound like that's fine. Right? Like other people need you to do stuff. But it's not like they were getting better outcomes for me, because they were doing that. They were probably getting worse outcomes. And so what I started to understand, and I think everybody's different, that's why I think journaling is a big part of starting the design process is I figured out, there's some parts of the day, for work for career stuff that I need to be heads down. That time for me, comes in chunks, it first thing in the morning, from then probably until 11. And then after 630 in the evening, those were my most like a heads down productive sort of things. My least productive time for those activities based on my journal was late afternoon, like two o'clock to five o'clock, it was really hard for me to be productive. And I just I was miserable. And it is just as easy as saying, okay, I'm going to swap some things. And when I need heads downtime, I'm going to schedule that in the morning or late evening. And I'm going to try to schedule as many meetings as I can in that late afternoon time slot because the meetings energize me, and they didn't cause negative emotions when they happen in the afternoon. And like I said, everybody's different. But journaling that, realizing that those were my were my energies where my emotions were, I was able to very slowly make changes to my week and say, Can we or a lot of times I'm the one scheduling the meeting. And if that person has a meeting open in the morning, and then in the afternoon, I know that I'd rather do just schedule that meeting in the afternoon, because I've done a little bit of that study. And that was my initial foray into designing my day and my week, I don't know, if you went through something similar there.

Robert Greiner:

There's several really good points that you just hit on. One is this idea of the default decision. So no decision is a decision, things just happen by default, unless you change them, and people will really let you work yourself to death if you let them. Because no one person knows everything that's on your plate. And so you're just incrementally adding things over time. And so it's really, to your point, up to you to set those appropriate sort of boundaries and expectations. And then it's really helpful to know, times of constraint, and times of productivity within your rhythm and cadence, which are, again, different for everybody based on phase of life and personal commitments and things like that. You know, one thing for me in the pandemic is lunchtime. It's really hard for me to meet over lunch, because most days, I'm making sure the kids are fed. And so it's hard for me to have a lunchtime meeting because Diana relies on that time, because she gives more time in the morning. And so there's a balance there. Those are times of constraint. And then I'm definitely more productive in the morning than I am in the afternoon. And so yeah, to your point, when there's multiple meeting blocks, it is helpful to know that maybe I should block some heads downtime, specifically put it on my calendar, so that it reminds me Hey, this is for getting work done. The meetings will come in the afternoon. And that's what happens for me, that's what works for me, but it's different for other people.

Charles Knight:

When you get lunch for the kids. Do you feel guilty at all?

Robert Greiner:

No.

Charles Knight:

Good.

Robert Greiner:

I feel guilty when meetings encroach on that time,

Charles Knight:

I'm trying to put myself back into the frame of mind, Igor, that you were talking about where, hey, you're having conversation with colleagues, and they were feeling guilty about either spending too much time at work, or too much time at home. I don't feel guilty either. Right up about the time that I carve off to do virtual schooling with the kids, like on Mondays or anything like that. And I but I know I felt the pressure to prioritize work over personal stuff before kids. It's a vitality being one of them. For sure, Robert, I can resonate with that. And I'm trying to think about and I don't remember when that guilt went away. And I'm just gonna say for the sake of this conversation, it was probably when I had kids that forced me to reevaluate what I value in life. And based off of that value realignment, I then rebalanced all of my investment decisions about time and resources. I think it's a pretty common thing, though, when people have kids because it turns your life around. It's a you're forced to reevaluate things. And you're all probably familiar with the quote by Frederick Nietzsche. He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. You'll ever heard of that, quote? It's really about getting clear on the life. And you had mentioned that to Igor, it's an I'd like to get your perspective on. What do you recommend to people to help them find their Why? either personally or professionally? Because I know you're sending to evaluate both of those things through journaling. Is there a specific advice that you give to people because I people struggle with that? continually? I feel because it's a it's a hard thing, what is my Why? What is my motivating and doing purpose that that gives me energy to say no to a work meeting over lunch? It's like, now we don't feel that pressure, because we've accepted and embraced our why, but others may not be in the same places. We are in some curious, what's your advice in that regard? My question makes sense.

Robert Greiner:

Before you jump into that, I do want to add like a sort of a complexity factor there who brought up the family relationship, family success career success matrix earlier in the episode, and you can put relationships in there, too, if you want one, one thing I was thinking about after we recorded, the last episode around meaning and core values was if family for instance, is a core value, but there was a time where it was just me and Diana, and we were both really focused on careers. And we spent good quality time together during the weekends, we commuted together for a period of time, which was kind of cool. And I had enough surplus time in my life to take care of by default, the family side of the equation, it still takes work, it still takes investment. But the surplus of time really helped with that, during that period of my life. And our collective goals were career oriented. So it was easier to move the needle up on family than it will be if someone has young kids or is going through a rough patch or something like that. And so part of this too, is the intentionality side of identifying those things and being explicit about it early. I think could really be helpful because I mentioned this before to what hit me like a ton of bricks was my value system either changed or became galvanized when I had my daughter. And my actions and behaviors did not catch up to that until later. And that created tension. And so it would have been really like good if at back then if I knew, at the time, how to do this priority, and I was clear ahead of it. And I could go into the situation, eyes wide open. So I would say even if things are going pretty well right now and one of those dimensions, it's probably still helpful to go through what you're about to recommend. So that you can be explicit around what those values what those priorities are, what you want your life to be designed as so that when things change, when timelines compress, when something bad happens, you have that clarity, and you don't have to figure it out while you're in this bit of crisis mode.

Igor Geyfman:

It's a really good point, Robert. And Charles, I think, to your question, there's not like an algorithm that you can go through and find your why at least I don't think so. And it's not a process. It's like, it's like work. Does that make sense? You have to like work at it. And there's techniques, and we talked about a lot of those techniques, folks want to listen to the meaning episode in the perma V Series. That's a good place to start. And we mentioned the obituary method, in the meaning episode, as well. And so there's definitely things that you can do. Finding your why I think is like a, there's not an easy way to do it. You can try those things, and maybe you'll find your why. But maybe you're not ready yet. And you have to work on it. And I know that probably sounds like an unsatisfying answer to people that like want, like a quick answer and some sort of panacea. And sometimes it's hard to even answer what you want. You know, I work for a guy. And he had three famous questions that he would ask people that worked with him, he would ask, What do you want? How bad do you want it? And what are you willing to do to get it? That was his way of eliciting that? And most of the time, even the What do you want question was probably the hardest of all. And for some people, it's very clear. For some people it was, I want to make an extra $500 a month, so I can feed my family, and not worry about if my lights are going to stay on. And for them that was very strong. Sometimes it's a little bit muddier for others, and you have to work on it. And you have to think about it. And eventually you'll get there. But it doesn't mean that you can't use something like perma v. Or even the dichotomy that we talked about the relationships and career or what Christiansen was talking about, in the sense of finding happiness in your career, or finding happiness in your relationships. If those are the two buckets that you're using, that's okay, too. You don't have to use the perma B, you know, six buckets? And you should definitely try to understand your why. But I think it's harder than do these two things. And you'll find your perfect why and then you'll be able to apply it to the system. I just I, to me, I don't think it works that way. But maybe I'm wrong. I think it's just complicated.

Robert Greiner:

Let me add something stupid, simple and practical. So just as an exercise, I'll have Igor, you and Charles do this. And if you're listening, you can do the same thing. But just take a look around the room that you're in right now. And if I were to say, Hey, your number one goal in life over the next 48 hours, is to make that room as spotless as possible. Like really clean it up, there's probably no good way to really define the standard for Super spotless, exceptional room. But as you looked around, and then as asked the question, there's probably four or five things in your mind that So yeah, I could straighten this up here. Personally, in my room, my daughter does school in here, there's some coloring books and papers on the floor, there's a vacuum cleaner over by the wall that I haven't put up yet, and the cord is strewn about. And so there's some obvious things that I could do right now to clean my room. And if it's one of those things where you want to be a better parent, you want to be better at work, a simple Google search, thinking through, hey, if I woke up an hour earlier, I could show up to work earlier. Maybe that means I could get home, see my kids earlier and actually that I would get there before anyone gets there and saw I'd have time to get my head down and do some work. It's not always that simple. But there are things that you can do to move the needle forward in those directions. You mentioned vitality from yesterday, I had three Oreos last night after dinner probably shouldn't have done that. That's like a very obvious thing. That did not help my vitality. And I don't feel any better or worse today because of it. It was an impulse thing. The kids were having cookies. I said, oh, those look good. I grabbed one, and then I grabbed two more later.

Charles Knight:

So you know what's really dangerous about that, Robert?

Robert Greiner:

The fact that you can eat Oreos like chips.

Charles Knight: Oh yeah. Next year in:

Robert Greiner:

Oh, you're in trouble.

Charles Knight:

So watch out. Watch out. I'm so stoked.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, that's gonna be a great thing.

Charles Knight:

Yes. And I'm surprised you only three dude I could knock out, I could knock out a whole thing and fall over in a coma. You know,

Igor Geyfman:

It's like a sleeve. The sleeve of Oreos just

Robert Greiner:

Happy food coma. Yeah. So I hope that analogy helps, though it's a lot of the stuff we talked about. You might, in your mind, say I don't know how to define what the end goal looks like, or there's this standard of perfection. And I don't know how to get there. Like it's just too far away. It's too ambiguous. We all feel the same way. Like, I don't know, there are things you could do. And I heard about a burpee challenge, like when you get up, do as many burpees as you can track it. That's probably like the, for vitality, the most lowest, the lowest level of effort and time commitment, because you're just not getting out right in the morning. You don't need any equipment. That's something that's popped into my mind. There are things that will make themselves obvious to you, if you ask yourself the question like, hey, how can I level up my family? How can I level up my work? Any one of those six Perma V buckets, what I need to do about my relationships, Christmas time is coming up holiday cards, you could send e cards now everyone's okay with that. So there's a way to get a touch point in if you want to build relationships, there's just little things you can do to move the needle forward a little bit and that momentum, then you're really and we talked about this, I work a lot you're turning static friction, which is very hard to overcome into kinetic friction, which is easier to keep pushing things forward once an object is in motion. And so that's really, as Igor, you're talking about this? And I'm trying to think about my weeks now. And how to structure things, the big blocks so that the other little things can just fall through the cracks and fit in and really coming through with, oh, what are those few items that are obvious to me that I could just do right now. And I don't even have to think about what 10 steps ahead looks like. I can think about what the next step looks like. And I'll be better off, I'm never going to regret doing burpees in the morning. I'm not going to regret not having eaten Oreos, not going to regret having a clean room. Those kind of things are positive, forward looking stuff. And so I think that was really helpful. Thanks for outlining this, really appreciate it, man.

Igor Geyfman:

I'll do like a vitality one as an example, a personal example. And I did this a couple years ago, and I was like, Hey, I'm training for this cycling event. It's wintertime, I hate the cold. And how do I design my day that I can still train properly. And having done journaling, and all this sort of stuff, and and the context of the work that I was doing at the time, I'm not a morning workout person, there's some people that are like, hey, I'm going to get up at, you know, 530 or 6am. And that's going to give me 30 minutes, 45 minutes, hour and a half to work out. It's consistent. And I'm just gonna knock that out. And just knowing myself and previous attempts at building that habit. Having failed, I just knew that I was just not a morning person, even though that's from just set it and forget it standpoint is probably the easiest, because the end of my day is usually pretty variable. And for whatever reason, I felt like I had less control. Because sometimes I have a bunch of work that needs to get done during that day. And I can't always say that I'm going to stop at five because I may need to go further. And I felt that was okay. Like I didn't have a problem with that. So instead I said, Hey, I still want to have a set it and forget it. I'm not a morning person. What I'm going to do is Monday, Wednesday, Friday, four to 530 in the afternoon is my training time. And that timeframe, that block was inviolable. It was like, hey, just pretend I disappeared off the face of the planet. And I agreed I agreed upon this with my manager. It wasn't just a surprise Igor's fallen off the face of the planet at 4pm. I talked to my manager about it. Four o'clock seemed like a good time most people don't like to meet toward the end of the day anyway, stuffs getting wrapped up. Some people start their day early, so they leave early. And I was able to like very easily make that a habit I would show up at the spinning studio, I had a favorite instructor who had 4:30 class, and half an hour between four and 4:30 would give me time to drive to the class get changed, get ready on my bike, do a little bit of warm up. And then when I got home, I could then spend whatever the rest of the day I needed to spend to finish any lingering things that were still on my plate that needed tidying up. And I think most people have enough agency over their day where they can talk to their team. And to do things like that. No, my manager would never let me go home at 4pm How do you know unless you have that conversation and set those goals for him. So So part of that story is the journaling and knowing my habits allowed me to understand what would work for me and what wouldn't work for me, and then defining a block and then negotiating for it properly and still getting stuff done.

Robert Greiner:

I'll just say this. It's not the same in every group, but I'd love to let you go home at 4pm. First question I'm going to ask is are you getting your work done. If you are, there's really no problem. And then second, I may need you to work a weekend and be on call for production support, or there may be some month end report that needs babysitting. And you could definitely negotiate like, maybe as a leader, I'm stressed out about finding the right person to ask because I don't want to encroach on their holiday time. You say, hey, I want to do this regular thing at 4pm. Every day, I want to come in late because I'm doing this training deal. Maybe I can work something out with you where it's like, oh, that'll make there'll be really easy for me to ask for something in return, Hey, can I get you to come in every quarter for Saturday, one Saturday, a quarter to close off this monthly report or whatever it is. And so have been having the discussion you actually saw could potentially solve two problems. But if you're not bringing it up, then you're just you're not getting what you need. You're not setting the right boundaries, and you're not giving.

Igor Geyfman:

I think a lot of people are unwilling for some reason to have that discussion. And I think they're missing out and they're potentially not giving an opportunity for their team, or their boss to have something that they want to that they haven't been talking to you about.

Robert Greiner: ally healthy thing going into:

Igor Geyfman:

The one I want to mention, Robert was like journaling your month to really understand like the components and how you're energized and your emotional state and where you're spending your time. Because it helps you understand, like, Where's all the tensions coming from? Because before they're undefined, it just felt bad. And once you start journaling, and documenting and putting it into a data format, then you can analyze it and say, oh, it felt bad, because there's tensions here. And here.

Charles Knight:

I think the one thing that comes back, for me, I like the practical list. And maybe my one addition would be that being successful in this endeavor, like whatever you want to call this endeavor like work life balance or living a fulfilled life, I've used both of those phrases to capture what what I was trying to solve with all that other stuff is that it requires sustained effort over time. Like it's, it's not a one and done. It's something that you have to work at over time. And so I would say, in addition to the journaling, which is a great way to kickstart things like I've never done it before, but I've tracked what I've eaten and consumed for two weeks to see, Holy moly, this is why I'm 20 pounds overweight, and provides great insight. But I have also created in my life. These are like quarterly reviews for myself, like personal quarterly reviews. And I do annual planning around this time of year. And I think consider putting those little rhythms or cycles into your calendar too. To serve as opportunities to reflect and adjust and to pivot and reevaluate things because this is a never ending thing. Right? It's, and I think that's maybe what I've learned a lot is that I asked you, hey, how effective is this, Igor? And you're right, like, hey, there's a lot of different techniques, but it requires work. And you're right. It does require work, and requires work over time. And so build that into your schedule, so that way you can make time for them. And and then in a year, five years, 10 years, you'll look back and say, Wow, look how much I've grown look at what I've accomplished and all these domains. And then I think Bill Gates said, we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a year, but underestimate what we can accomplish.

Igor Geyfman:

That was Tony Robbins. You know,

Charles Knight:

I think it was that Tony Robbins. Okay. Yeah,

Robert Greiner:

Charles, that's such good advice. I remember reading online before it's like this idea of don't compare your start with someone else's middle. And you guys know who Marcus Brownlee is? Igor, you probably do.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, of course I do. man. He's like the Hot Shot technology. You every viewer on YouTube

Robert Greiner:

Yeah, so he's got 13 point 5 million subscribers on YouTube gets the Apple Airpods max before anyone else so he can give his opinion which by the way, he doesn't really even like them. But he probably got them for free anyway, exceptional production quality, like really in depth, like nuanced reviews of technology products and stuff. And I'm just like, I really enjoy watching it and, and also, it's what I do with you, Igor, live a little bit vicariously through all the cool stuff that you buy. So that's nice as well you get some exposure to it without having to buy it.

Igor Geyfman:

Mark Hass, I think estimated revenue, yearly revenue is like $7 million. It's pretty cool.

Robert Greiner:

He deserves it. So I saw a video of him 11 years ago,

Igor Geyfman:

He's a kid,

Robert Greiner:

He's a kid in his parents house. He's Hey, guys got this, like last, like 10 tips for buying a laptop video. I'm gonna roll this out. I just released my 100th video. And I have 73 subscribers. And he's like, elated. And it's like, Yeah, when I get to 150, or whatever is reasonable. I'll do like a subscriber giveaway. And now he's got over 13 million. And you can't look at what he is and has today and not consider the 11 years of work where you have, you can round down to zero subscribers. And I think that's like a that's the kind of journey we're talking about here. That was over a decade of day in day out work. And that goes back Igor, what do you want? How bad do you want it? What are you willing to do to get there, and you don't have to go have 13 million subscribers to be happy. But if you want a good family life, you have to put in that work. And if you want a good career, you have to put in that work. And I think it all goes into some of the changes we've talked about today around designing your life being intentional. And then yeah, sustained effort over time doesn't even have to be a heavy lift. You don't have to do many heavy lifts. But the slow burn of consistent little bit here a little bit there. All that stuff adds up and compounds and then 10 years later to your point. You're in another stratosphere that you never could imagine before.

Igor Geyfman:

Yeah, that that kid is getting a call from Elan Musk asking to be on his show to be interviewed. Like that's, it's nuts.

Robert Greiner:

Yeah.

Hey, thanks for your time today, guys. I think we'll wrap it up here. Igor, this was a great topic. Thanks for sharing. We have a ton of tactical practical next steps if you're looking to get a little bit more intentionality in your life and we'll put those in the show notes. And again, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out anytime. [email protected] And I hope you have a great Christmas and I'll see you next year.

Igor Geyfman:

Thanks everyone.

Charles Knight:

See ya.

Robert Greiner:

Bye. That's it for today. Thanks for joining and don't forget to follow us on Twitter @wannagrabcoffee or drop us a line at [email protected]

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About the Podcast

Wanna Grab Coffee?
Join us for weekly discussions about careers, leadership, and balancing work and life.
A podcast about all of the topics we discuss during our mid-day coffee breaks. We bring you stories, thoughts, and ideas around life as a professional, leadership concepts, and work/life balance. We view career and leadership development as a practice that spans decades and we are excited to go on this journey with you.