The Last 10% – July 2017 Newsletter

“If you have life ahead of you, your greatest accomplishment cannot be behind you.”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the wise words of Etsy Co-Founder, Rob Kalin:

“The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.”

Truer words haven’t been spoken. With only 2 weeks left to deliver my 3rd and final draft of The Burnout Gamble, my stress levels are at an all time high. In fact, the last time I felt this overwhelmed, I got cold feet on the eve of a fully-booked trip around the world. Considering how that incident spawned the TEDx talk which then spawned my forthcoming book, my present state is both poetic and precarious.

Fortunately, the framework I’ve developed for beating burnout and achieving more (contained within The Burnout Gamble) has helped me to navigate this uncharted territory.

The first step of this framework, like most steps in any process, is the hardest (but also the most essential): deloading non-essential priorities. It’s especially difficult if you’re an overachiever. You need to deload the non-essential priorities in your life that are contributing to your stress.

A few tactics I’ve been using to remain focused on this final 10% stretch of the project:

  1. Embracing The Joy of Missing Out – I’ve made peace with the idea that for the foreseeable future, I can’t be as socially active as I’d like to be. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate the saved time, energy, and attention that I can now dedicate to this book. The gains of delivering my passion projects outweigh the pains of friends & family occasionally complaining about my absence at an event. Besides, they understand.
  2. Reducing Reactivity – Every notification that presents itself to me goes through the sieve known as Eisenhower’s Matrix: “what’s urgent is seldom important, and what’s important is seldom urgent.” Only priorities that are both urgent and important are ones that can take my focus off this book.
  3. Condensing My Workload – For days when focusing has been particularly difficult, I’ve used a simple decision-making framework to determine the next steps for purging emails: delete, defer, diminish, delegate.
  4. Simplifying My Timelines – Rather than saddling myself with mental load of juggling multiple competing and converging deadlines, I’ve instead grouped things into: now, next, and later.

Following through on all four of these tactics within the first stage of my framework for beating burnout and achieving more have helped me reduce the frequency of stress during this critical time. And when the going gets tough, I hope that they can do the same for you.