029: Doing vs. Investing

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You can aimlessly do stuff, or you can invest. This week, we chat about some ideas around being more intentional in investing your actions.

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00:00 Hello and welcome to Process, a podcast by Effective Remote Work. My name is Justin DiRose and today we’re talking about doing versus investing. Last week we briefly announced our brand new Patreon campaign. If you are interested in supporting this podcast and the community head on over to effectiveremotework.com/patreon to sign up today. We have one support level currently for our podcast supporters at $3 a month which gets you access to our private remote worker water cooler chat plus a badge announcing your support on the community. More perks and levels are to come down the road. Now to continue the conversation from the last couple of weeks, we’ve really been hammering home the point on intentionality and that’s largely because it’s been on my heart and on my mind to try to figure out for myself and so I’d figure that I would just share with you some of the things that have been going through my mind with you about what intentionality looks like.

01:01 A lot of this was inspired by The Margin Course by Blanc Media, which I had an opportunity to take part in and go through and it’s a fantastic resource if you’re looking to try to get more space, more time in your life. If you’re feeling like, hey, my life is so full right now, I can’t fit anything else in it. I can’t even have time to take care of myself. It’s probably because you’re lacking margin. Like I know right now that The Margin Course is closed for enrollment, but I will make sure to put a post up or mention it on the podcast when that door is open. Again, because it’s a fantastic resource for anyone who is struggling in that area. But one of the main things that I took away from the course is that it’s all about investing. It’s all about choosing intentionally what you’re going to put your time, your money, your investment, your actions into intentionally.

01:58 And when we think of investment, we usually put it opposite of spending. So let’s think of it a couple of different ways. Your outflow of your money is pure spending. Say, I’m just going to go to the store and buy a bunch of clothes or a bunch of tech gear that I don’t necessarily need. I’m just, I’m spending my money. There’s not necessarily a return on that, but an investment usually is tied to something intentional, a choice that I’ve made or say like if I’m putting my money into an index fund or something, there’s going to be your return with that. Or if we’re looking at time, if we’re spending our time on, most of the time, we’re just wasting it. We’re doing stuff that we didn’t really think about or if we’re investing our time, we’re choosing what to do with it wisely. Today, what I wanted to think about was that we can also think of our actions in term of investment where doing things can be thoughtless, but investing in things through our actions can be thoughtful and intentional.

03:04 One thing to remember that’s important here is that some habits and tasks are not simply about checking off the box. When we’re in this productivity world, it’s very easy to get into this mindset of, okay, I’ve got these 10 things on my list to do today. I’ve got these hundred other things in my task manager that need to be handled at some point and it’s easy to get in the mode of, I just got to do stuff to get it done. I’ve got to do this thing. I’ve got to push through and get all these check boxes done, but some items don’t work well like that longterm. Now granted, there are some things that need to be done like paying the bills, taking out the trash, but investing in your relationship with your spouse is not a box to check off. You might be able to say, okay, I checked off the box to schedule date night this week, but it’s not the same as I actually took some intentional time and made an effort to connect at a deeper level with my spouse.

04:04 Also, investing in your health isn’t going to ever happen over night. It’s a daily choice to invest in while checking that box every single day can have some level of a dopamine hit with that. It’s still a daily choice to invest in the vision of becoming a healthier person longterm. Investment ultimately is more about where what you’re choosing to do and not to do. It’s about the thought process when it comes to deciding how you’re going to act and what you’re going to act on. It’s about aligning your actions with your values and it’s ultimately about making wise choices about yourself and your life. How do you do that? You have to have a longer term vision. It cannot be just reacting to the present

04:50 Because I mean, honestly I’ve struggled with that myself. Just reacting to the present when there’s so much stuff going on in life and I feel like I’m behind the 8-ball all the time. I’m then often just reacting to the next text message or email that I get or the next thing that looks appealing to do, but that’s not investment; that’s doing, that’s not thinking about what I’m doing for the long term. Investment is always focused on the longer timescales versus the shorter ones. So today I wanted to spend just a couple minutes discussing some ways that we can bring more investment mentalities to your life. And the first one that I think of is to prioritize the important, probably the best way to illustrate this is through something like the Eisenhower Matrix. We’ve talked about it on the podcast before, but the Eisenhower Matrix has four quadrants. Quadrant one are the important and urgent items.

05:52 Things like, I’ve got to go to the emergency room because I have a health situation going on or we’ve got a kid that’s sick and it needs to get taken care of. Quadrant two are the important but not urgent items. These are the things that require the longterm investment to make a difference. Quadrant three are the urgent but not important items - the things that we tend to waste our time on that feel like they’re important, but they’re really nod. And quadrant four the non-important non urgent items that we should just flat out get rid of in our lives. So to increase investment in our lives, ultimately we have to focus more on the quadrant two tasks than any other ones. And then if there’s others that come up, then we need to delegate, ignore or minimize them as much as possible.

06:43 Now to give you a little bit behind the scenes of how I do this inside of Omnifocus, the way that I’ve pieced it out, and I’ve seen people do it other ways, but I find it important to use dates and flags to help gauge whether something is important or urgent at least if I’m adding it to my task manager. Obviously I’m not going to add the the emergency to my task manager like, Hey, I got to go to the emergency room – no, I’m not putting that in there, but especially for managing things that could become Q1 emergencies if I don’t properly handle them, Omnifocus at least allows me to stay on top of that. So what I tend to do is that I measure dates as a form of urgency. I measure use flags as a measure of importance. So if a task is flagged, it’s something that I value and something that is probably higher in the list that needs to get taken care of.

07:41 And the key piece that I’ve been using lately is to use a today tag and I choose to add that to a tasks that I want to add to my list for today the things that I want to invest into today. And so when I go through my lists, I’m looking ultimately for the today items to handle first, the due items to handle second and the important items to handle, third. Because ultimately the today items are the things that are intentional of choice. The due items or the things that have an urgency attached to them that I have decided are important and urgent to do. And then the important items are the ones that have a level of importance but not necessarily require as much intentional thought to take care of or they might be things that are important down the road where I’ll move them into the today tag later on or something like that, but ultimately the today items are the things that I’m choosing to intentionally invest into today.

08:48 Another strategy is to reflect regularly. Always be evaluating if you’re on track to where you want to be longterm. It’s not always about having goals, but it’s more about having a vision for who you want to be in your life. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one specifically because we talked about regular reviews in a previous episode. I’ll link that episode in the show notes, but go ahead and go back and listen to that episode for more information on how to conduct a helpful regular review.

09:21 And the last piece is to get feedback. Ultimately, we cannot do this ourselves. If you trying to build intentionality into our lives and it’s not something that we’re used to, it’s really hard to do it just solely on our own. It’s important to get regular feedback from people that you trust and ask them if they see you as investing in the right areas in your life or asking them for help, if you’re not sure how to invest in areas where you want to invest in. More often than not others, we’ll see areas of weakness that you haven’t been able to identify yourself.

10:02 Intentionality is something that is extremely important to do and it requires us to have a longterm vision to invest not only in our lives, but in our relationships, in our work, in everything that’s important to having a fulfilled life. We can’t do it alone. We need to think about the bigger picture and we have to make daily choices to prioritize what’s ultimately important.

10:31 I’m sure we will keep talking about this subject of intentionality as we go on. I think next week we’re probably going to dive into the topic of procrastination because that’s something that I’ve been dealing with a little bit recently, but I’ve gotten a little bit of insight of what has helped me move through procrastination as a remote worker because it’s really easy, especially when you don’t have someone looking over your shoulder to not be as intentional as you could be, to not invest, to not make the choice to get the hard work done today, but ultimately it comes down to just choosing. You have to choose to invest, you have to choose the longterm outcome because in a world full of short term reactions to everything that’s going on around us, the only way to keep sane and the only way to keep healthy in every area of our lives is to truly be intentional in making investments.

11:29 Well, that’s all for this time. If you want to join in on the discussion for this episode, or if you want to connect with other remote workers looking to grow in their effectiveness, head on over to the Effective Remote Work Community at community.effectiveremotework.com. Be sure to join our Patreon at effectiveremotework.com/patreon to get access to our exclusive members-only content. If Twitter’s your thing, you can find me at @justindirose, and the podcast and community @effectiveremote. Don’t forget to subscribe to the show at podcast.effectiveremotework.com. Lastly, if you like this show, rate us on iTunes or recommend us on Overcast! My name is Justin DiRose and join me next time on Process.

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