Dean and Dan discuss a different way of looking at time.
Rather than accepting the pressure of a standard clock, breaking the day into 10 minute units can help overcome procrastination and create an abundance of time.
Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep021
Dean: Mr. Sullivan.
Dan: Mr. Organizer.
Dean: How are you, sir?
Dan: Great. I'm looking out on Cape Cod Bay.
Dean: Oh, perfect.
Dan: Yeah. Beautiful. Beautiful today.
Dean: 20 years in a row, is this for you, in Cape Cod?
Dan: Not just in Cape Cod, but in particular town. This is Wellfleet, which is up near the top. I think it's just 13 miles from Provincetown, which is the outermost point with Cape Cod. This is year 34 in a row. 34 straight years.
Dean: I love stuff like that. You think about that, the first year that I went it Wimbledon, it'd been ... It was kind of an interesting time period for me, because it was right around the time that, under your conversations with you, I started really being exposed to, or understanding my appreciation for the longevity of something. Just how long Wimbledon had been around consistently every June for however many years.
Dan: Right. Yeah.
Dean: Just the ... Yeah.
Dan: Yeah. I think that if it's been a good activity, because sometimes, there's longevity of bad activity.
Dan: If it's a good activity, the location or the event that you're going to, actually takes on a quality. People feel it when you go to a place like that. You feel it, because there's a tremendous buildup of positive emotion around a place. I'm very sensitive to that. There are two restaurants where we go in Toronto, both of them French bistros. Jacques Bistro, 40 years this year, 40 years in the same place. Le Select Bistro, 40 years in the same place, with the original owners. That's the interesting part about it, is that you have the original owners, who must've stated very, very young. They must've been in their 20s when they did it.
Dean: It's nice to see the kids there too, now.
Dan: Yeah. We just enjoyed going there. I'd be hard pressed really, maybe there's a couple other restaurants in Toronto that predate that, that I've been to, but I don't have the same connection and attachment as I do to these two. One of the interesting things about French bistros, is that the owners dare not change the menu.
Dean: Why is that?
Dan: If they screw around with the menu, they'll get a lot of complaints. You go to some restaurants and you say it's the same old thing. With French bistros, one of the highlights of going there is that it's the same old thing.
Dean: Which fits with my, that's fits with me perfectly, because as you know, the exact same thing.
Dean: That's so funny.
Dan: Yeah. It's an interesting thing. Interesting that you should bring up the topic, because I'm very open to change in my life, and I have to be, because I have to be creating new stuff all the time. I've got to be really aware of changing challenges, changing opportunities for entrepreneurs. It's the nature of what I do for a living.
I've got to have part of my mind completely freed up to deal in a very positive way with new things. But, what I've discovered is that my ability to do that also depends that I've got a while number of factors in my life, that are not changing. They're not changing. Cape Cod is one of them. I could list another half dozen locations where pretty well, every year, Babs and I will make our way back to that location. There's a familiarity which I find very comforting.
Dean: Including your home.
Dean: I think it's an interesting thing, that you've got this ... If we think about it, as you're writing this symphony of a life, we've got this constant time signature and perhaps the bass line. There's lots of room for exploring different melodies for lots of different bars.
Dan: Yeah. I'm open to new places, but I definitely know that when I go to a new restaurant or I go to a new hotel or I go to a new place, I'm comparing it immediately. I'm comparing it immediately.
Dean: I'm just like that. I'm always looking for an incumbent.
Dan: With the standard that is set by my favorites. I'll sit there, and it's not like I've got a sheet of paper out and I'm going down and I'm writing it, but in my mind, there's either a resonance or a non resonance. It's either coming up to the standard or it's not coming up to the standard. I'll say, kind of neat, maybe I'll come back once or twice, but it's not going to be a regular thing.
Dean: Right. That's funny that, we say that with hotels, because it's the same thing. I feel good, I've found my new home in London for the breakthrough blueprints, is the new Four Seasons at Trinity Square, which is ... This was the first season for it, but it's great. I feel like that's a good anchor for me, for the next 25 years…
Dan: That's right on the river, that's right on the Thames, right? Is it?
Dean: It's right on the Thames. It's absolutely beautiful, yeah.
Dan: Yeah. London's got a lot of things like that. The other thing is that my favorite cities are New York, London, I would say parts of Los Angeles because I don't even know ... It's kind of hard with Los Angeles to know where Los Angeles actually is.
Dan: Santa Monica, very definitely, I love Santa Monica, and Shutters, which is a favorite hotel there. We stay there at least once a year. Yeah, it's really interesting. I'm just bringing us back to the topic, the joy of procrastination here, that part of ... See if you relate to this. I'm thinking that where I'm procrastinating is where I'm getting into something new, or something new as called for, and running it against some other experiences. I'm saying, gee, I wonder if this is going to actually live up to the opportunity that's being promised here, and everything like that I'm just wondering if you have that too. Because I've got some real gold standards in my life. Including relationships.
Especially relationships, because all these places are really centrally connected with, first of all, the relationship I have with Babs, and then my favorite people. You being one of them. You're making room for new things in your life, but the standards go up as you go ... At 73, my standards are quite a bit higher than they were at 53.
Dean: Yeah, I get that. I can see that, absolutely. Yeah. I always do that. It has been one of the greatest perspective changes that you've been instrumental in helping me with, is that longevity, that 25 year vista, and looking for ... I crave it. I long for that permanence. I look for things like that. I am open to new things.
I love it.
Dean: I've had a couple of really exciting developments since the last we spoke. Related to the things that we've been talking about, about our recognition that for both of us, the highest level thing that we can be doing is in conversation. That's really the thing that is the greatest. Now, I have had a couple ... Which one do I start with here. I had a couple of situations, we're thinking about that conversation, that being in a conversation about something is an instant procrastination empower, catalyst out of that, it's a breakthrough. Absolutely.
What I've done in addition, that's how we're layering things on top of here, so I can say to myself, what have you got for me today? I can get the top three things, and then my immediate thing, my immediate action, is how can I get in a conversation about this, in the first 60 minutes of my day here. I'll tell you, it's just such a catalyst, because I've recognized now that in conversation, is real time, and it's ... I say that word catalyst, it is catalytic in that there's sparks flying and that you're engaged about something specific, where procrastination is really on the negative side of it, is something that we do alone and not having conversations.
The only people we've having conversations with about it are ourselves. In a guilt and shame type of way. I should do this, I really need to do his, I got to get, okay, I will. You're negotiating and playing games a lot of places with yourself. If I'm able to identify what it is, and then immediately say okay, who do I need to, who's the best person to have a conversation with about this, and then immediately institute that, or initiate that conversation through text.
I've taken to even just picking up the phone, which is so not the introvert thing to do. It's been a catalyst. I'll tell you the other thing, that we can have a ...
Dan: Can you give me a situation where you've done this? Over the last, because it'd be over the last two weeks, because this is a new thing.
Dean: Yes. Okay. There's been a lot of different things. I couple it with this idea that, I read an article that somebody had written about looking at our time, just an interesting way of looking at time, as 10 minute blocks that we get. Basically, 100 10 minute blocks in a day. If we're awake for 16 or 17 hours. If you're looking at these as physical blocks, like the building blocks that are going to build our day in 10 minute chunks, that we basically have 100 of those to work with each day.
Dan: Right. That's an interesting thought.
Dean: It was a very interesting thought, because that, regardless of the time of day, that, to me ... What's the word I'm looking for, but it took out the hierarchy of it, took out the chronological element of it, I guess. Took out the ... It starts and is going, and made it that, things that I'm going to do are going to take some number of these units. I can initiate a conversation with somebody in one 10 minute block, and it doesn't matter that that starts at two o'clock or at three o'clock. It took the, for me, the time dated thing out of it, in a way, and just started looking at, what's the thing, and what can I get done in 10 minutes with this.
I look at that, you can initiate a conversation and set up a time to have a conversation with somebody in 10 minutes. You can, and 20 minutes, is a pretty good amount of time to have a real significant conversation with somebody. When you really think about that ...
Dan: Yeah. The other aspect about it is that you can really brainstorm something in 10 minutes.
Dean: That's it.
Dan: Brainstorming with someone else is 10 times. It's got 10 times the value. It's really interesting, about 15, 20 years ago, I got on this thought of, why 24 hours.
Dan: The vast majority of people, when you talk to them about time, you begin to realize that they've never really actually given any thought to the time units that you're born into. We're born into days, we're born into hours, we're born into the week with seven days. It never occurs to them that at one point, these were arbitrary. In other words, there was some point in history where somebody said ...
Dean: Why do we do this?
Dan: Yeah, why don't we just break the days down into this number of hours. A lot of the time system that governed life over the last 1000 years anyway, really started in the monasteries in Europe. These were Catholic monasteries. They had the hours of the day, they actually ... That for the first hour, you did this. The second hour, you did this, third hour. It was regular. Every day, it was the same number of things, but it was about ... Somewhere between 12 and 15 different things you did. They had names.
These monasteries were incredibly productive because a significant part of each day was actually doing work, and they were little factories. They did farming, they made wine. They created all sorts of different objects, different tools and everything like that, depending on the monastery. That went along until clockwork started, and you ... Which was somewhere around 1200 or so, where ... I think it came from the middle east or China, originally. Somebody had worked out clockworks, where you could get a mechanical thing, which more or less kept repeating, hours are repeated, days and everything like that. It wasn't exact, because it was mostly geared to the planets and to the sun.
That went through all the way up until the late 19th and early 20th century when they could get atomic time. They had figured out all of our clocks are based on atomic time. It's the erosion of a particular element, I forgot which element it is, but it's absolutely regular. You have clocks now that are within a second over a 20 year period. They lose a second, which for most purposes is pretty good. Everything else.
The point that I'm making there is somebody made up the system. One day, there wasn't the system, and then the next day, somebody made up the system, and then that person started using the system and then gradually talked to a lot of other people, say, this is a better way to keep time than anything before.
We're born into that like we're born into language. Every word that we use at one point didn't exist. It was made up. Mass tables and everything that we take for granted. There's nothing more arbitrary about your 100 10 minute periods in a day, than any other kind of system.
Dean: Right. That's exactly true. I think that whatever that works, there was something that that stimulated in me, the novelty of it or as a quick start, liking new ideas and new ways to think about things, and to see how that could apply. It's really been very interesting. Even things that don't take ... That you don't look forward to, can take less ... When you realize that it's really just two units, if you think about it that way, that it's going to be 20 minutes, this could be over, sort of thing.
One of the ...
Dan: You combine them, so you could have three 10 minute periods to ...
Dean: Yeah, of course.
Dan: ... something might ...
Dean: This is how many blocks. Yeah. You get those 100 no matter what, but they're going away as it goes, kind of thing. You didn't do anything, you did something with the last 10 minutes, but it's okay. You and I, we're recording this podcast and we're two 10 minute blocks, two 10 minute units into it right now. It's been already pretty fascinating as a conversation. You look at it at the end of this…
Dan: The interesting thing about it is, that you're giving yourself a unlimited structure in which ... I think a lot of procrastination comes about because we experience time as an unlimited structure.
Dean: That's exactly right. Yeah. We think that something may take longer. One of the examples that I had a couple of situations, where I needed to ... Typically, I try and avoid having to do anything administration-wise, anything to do with my stuff. I have, fortunately Lillian can in most situations do everything, but then there are certain things that I have to do. I tend to procrastinate those things.
I've had this toleration for some time, and I call it toleration. We have these list of things where they're there and they niggle at us, but we tolerate them because they're not painful enough to do anything about. It can be something similar, like a jiggly door knob or whatever. We tolerate it. It's not perfect, we tolerate it, but we're not ready to do anything about it yet. I have, I use a online banking app for my iPhone, for my Bank of America. There were a couple of things that have come up banking-wise lately, that because I'm the account holder and the signer, that they require me to do that. I continually put things like that off.
Then I just realized it one day, I was like, you know what, I'm just going to ... If I start right now, I can have this done in two units, if you think about it. Probably, there's a good chance I can have it done in one unit, and it's certainly in two units. That's exactly what happened, that it ended up taking 16 minutes to get this whole thing happened, which in the context of those two blocks, that it's done.
There was something, while I was doing it, I was also able to have them set up my ... Link some accounts for my view, on my app, so that I only have to log into one thing and I can see everything. I was able to handle the thing that I needed to handle, plus make an improvement on something that's been another toleration, that I've had to log into different accounts to see different things. Now, I have one login, I can see an entire snapshot, and I handle the opening up to the new, linking the new account that I needed to do as well.
It took two units, and there was no delay in it.
Dan: Yeah. You know, what is getting me, time is a real skill, because ... what you have just exhibited is a skill with time. In other words, that you're independent enough from other people's notion of what time should be, that you can say, how would I find time most useful. You created this system. You created this system. Joe Polish at the Genius Network has done the same thing, that if he had speakers who each gave a 30 to 40 minute talk, I would wear out really, really quickly.
But the vast majority of the speakers there, I would say all except for maybe two per day, have to give their talks in 10 minutes. A 10 minute talk. You've given 10 minute talks, I never have because generally, Joe will give me an hour or something. You've done some really brilliant 10 minute talks. There's been some painful 10 minute talks.
Dean: There really have. Yeah, right.
Dan: I find myself about three minutes into a particular 10 minute talk, and I say wow, boy, I never realized how long 10 minutes could be. Some of them just zip by, because they're so pleasurable. First of all, there's the affect that we experience time as a quality as well as a quantity. It's good or bad time. The other aspect is, that you can pack an enormous amount into something, a beginning, a middle and an end, if you know that the end has to be there by the 10 minute mark.
Dean: Yes. I agree. I do. I like that format.
Dan: Did you find yourself, when you were dealing with the bank, being very conscious of when the first 10 minutes was up?
Dean: I found myself just, I wouldn't say that I was clock watching, but I was aware of time, and I realized oh, it's progression. My dream was that it would be done in 10, but then I realized, like I said, it was 16 minutes, but it was done and I got something extra out of it.
Dan: Yeah. You got an extra bonus.
Dan: Yeah. You got two things done in an average of eight minutes each.
Dean: It was really a ... It was really in a period of time, that I didn't really have anything else. I find that if I'm, as we're having these conversations and as I'm looking at them, I have come to the realization that for years and years, I have maybe been guarded with my time in protecting it from obligation and blocking it off, sort of thing. Thinking that as a true creative, I don't want to have any constraints, kind of thing. Knowing also, that ... Feeling like I need to have all that done free so that at some point, I'll get down and do something, because it's been my struggle to actually get stuff done, to ... I ultimately procrastinate on the things.
This has been an interesting thing to put more ... I've been experimenting with that shattering of the chronological thing, that it's 11 o'clock or 12 o'clock or one o'clock or whatever it is, and just being aware of the units. That's been the experiment that I've been having, thinking about what can I do, and let's just do that right now. If I need to take a little break in between, I've also discovered that certain things ... Like going to Starbucks or taking a break, that there's three or four units of that is a great amount of time.
Dan: That brings up another interesting, because I'm always looking for criteria for making judgements, you know what I mean? I've always had a passion, of being aware of the actual scoring standard that you're using when you're evaluating whether something is worth doing or not. You've just introduced a really interesting one. I'm just bringing it up, because I haven't really thought it through, but it just struck me, that there's a new standard, is it worth 10 minutes. In other words, that if something comes up, because you've now created a new way of looking at time, you could say to yourself, interesting idea, I wonder if it's worth 10 minutes thinking about, saying, nah, I don't think so.
Instantly, it's gone. Because, it's like a bug on the windshield.
Dean: Right. Yeah.
Dan: The wiper just came off and got rid of it, because it's not worth 10 minutes. That introduces a whole new factor, again. This is qualitative, we're adding qualitative to ... You've created a quantitative standard. If you add quality to it, you say sure, that'd be worth 10 minutes. I'll just ... I've got this great studio clock that's silent, and you can just see the ... It's a dial and as the minutes progress, the red, it's a red circle that gets revealed. When you get to, usually a minor ... I take it to the 50 minute mark, and then that'll make sure that I get it done in an hour.
You could do it for 10 minutes, and simply say yeah, this would be really worthwhile, or the other thing is, I wonder how much I can get done in 10 minutes. Okay, I'm going to give myself 10 minutes, I wonder how much of this project I can get done in 10 minutes. There's lots of different dimensions to what you're talking about here.
Dean: Yes. It's funny, we think the same way in that, that's ... I've found you can make a good ... You can make a top 10 list in 10 minutes. Brainstorming something for 10 minutes, you can get absolute clarity on something. It's almost like a mini impact filter, in a way. Certainly, you can think through and define what something, what would do, and maybe estimate the number of units that it would take, or number of blocks that I would take for something. You've mentioned before that your impact filters take about 30 minutes, right, or go through?
Dan: Yeah. A really well built ... I really, where I'm maximizing the use of each of the 13 boxes on the thing. Yeah, 30 minutes at the most. What I always say is 30 minutes, it probably saves you 30 hours. One is, is that it saves you from spending time 30 hours at a time, because been doing the impact filters. That's a clear decision, that you're not going to go any further in the thinking.
The other thing is, the 30 hours you would spend if you just brought it up, you introduce some activity that required other people's time or your own time, where at the end of 30 hours, you hadn't really gotten a handle on it. I've had a lot of those in my life, where I just casually went into something, and then I involved someone else, hey, I've got a thought, and then they bring in thoughts that aren't really related to the thing that I'm thinking about. Then it starts getting confusing. Then they say, let's have another meeting on this.
It probably describes the activity of any national government.
Dean: Yeah, right?
Dan: Let's have a meeting to discuss the meeting we're going to have, or let's have a meeting to discuss the meeting we just had, where in none of those meetings, there's anything get decided on.
Dean: I would bet, I think ... I've been experimenting with 10 minutes, I think that if it was a ... In a conversation, because that's where I'm leading towards, is that the thought process of who can I have this conversation with about this, and then taking one unit to get clear on what the outcome of that conversation, or how to communicate within that conversation, makes a ... What could've been a longer conversation happen quicker, because you're able to get right to figuring out what to do.
Dan: Yeah. The other ... I just saw another dimension to it, the fact that you're giving yourself 100 in a day, 100 10 minute units. That's an abundance of time.
Dean: Exactly. Yes. That is exactly right. When you think about mediating for two units, two boxes, or doing your vesper machine for ... Is 10 minutes, you do it for?
Dan: In and out, it would be three and a half, because there's ... If I'm really being honest with the setup time and then the actual exercise time, and then you have a 10 minute, you're recommended to have a 10 minute cool down period. Give yourself-
Dean: Think about that, even five blocks out of 100, when you think about that. Five blocks out of 100. That does sound like such a minor amount of any day, when you really think about it.
Dan: Yeah. One 25th of the day, is it worth one 25th of my time budget?
Dan: Absolutely. Absolutely is. The other aspect is that I've got, and today is day 190, and I came across, I just read this article, it must've taken two minutes, so not even a 10 minute unit to read it, but it was talking about that there's an exercise you can do in the morning, you could do it outside if you are into running or you could do it with stairs, stair climbing. I use an elliptical machine when I'm in Toronto and Chicago. If you get on the elliptical, and you do three minutes, just warming up, just easy pace, warming up, and then you do 20 seconds hard sprint, you're going as fast as you can, and then you give yourself three minutes, and then 20 seconds, and then three minutes and 20 seconds.
No, I'm sorry, three minutes, 20 seconds, two minutes rest period where you're just going normal, but it adds up to 10 minutes. You get these prints in. What they've discovered, that the aerobic impact of that is equal to one hour, so six 10 minute blocks, that 10 minute thing is worth aerobically, what it does to your system, than if you were just normal, you got on an elliptical machine and you kept it at the same pace for an hour. By doing the one 10 minutes in this way, is equal to what just getting on the machine and exercising at a normal rate for 60 minutes.
Very, very interesting.
Dan: The reason is, is because it's intense and it's interval. It's that interval movement between very intense exercise and easygoing exercise. Just doing three of them does it. I've done that now, out of 190 days, I've done it 188 days. I've missed two. It's a little bit more than six months.
Dean: That's so great. That's really great. I'm enjoying this layering of all the things that we're discovering here through these conversations.
Dean: I think that idea, if I just look back at what is stacking now, of first, this thought that procrastination is a superpower, and an actually productivity helper, to wake up and say, what have you got for me today? Then to stack that into a, who can I talk to, who can I get into a conversation about this? How many blocks is this going to take?
It's really interesting. In 10 minutes, you can write a really thoughtful reply to an emailing 10 minutes. You can write a quick text. You can text five or six people in a 10 minute thing if you're clear on who they are. It's pretty interesting-
Dan: I think the big thing is, that you're ... I think that one of the things that people don't add to their activity, when I talk to them about activity, they don't ... One of my great breakthroughs in life was to do things to time, do activities to time, or do it to space. I'm specifically thinking about the three years I spent in an ad agency. I was with one of the big global ad agencies for three years.
The neat thing about advertising as the school that teaches you how to write, is that before you know what you're going to write, you know how much time the resulting recording is going to take or the video is going to ... You're writing a script or an audio commercial, or a video commercial. The first thing that you know, it's 15 seconds, it's 30 seconds or it's 60 seconds. In Europe, they have 120 commercials, but not in ... Usually not in Canada and the United States. 60 is the longest.
Dan: The first thing that you are conscious of before you even begin to deal with what you're going to write about, is you're totally conscious right up front, I got 60 seconds to pull this off. The best commercials pack the most persuasive power in 60 seconds. There's a real art to this. The really great people can, they're just incredibly economical with language. And psychology, because advertising is very much psychology. Or, what I do with my books, though, when you come to your workshop in the first week in September, I'll have my 10th book in 11 quarters, my 10th book out.
The reason why it works is that the actual spacing of the book, that is how many pages there's going to be, is predetermined before I ever start writing the topic. The order is predetermined. There's an introduction, there's eight chapters, there's a summary. Then there's a section on strategic coach, which we just look at to see if it needs any updating. It usually carries over at least 95% from the previous book.
We know this before the topic is even explored. I know exactly how big the books, I know exactly how many sections, I know how many pages of cartoons that we're going to have. Because that's known, I can build incredible amounts of teamwork around it.
Dean: Yes, exactly. I think that's ... To see the process week after, or quarter after quarter, how each book has added some new improvement to it too, I've noticed. When you start to think about now, that the ... If I just think about the things that you've added and that the audio book being available, and different than just the transcript of the actual book, the ...
Dan: The other thing we did is, that we were trying to be totally faithful in my video of it, and then I said, why am I doing that? They can already read the text. Why don't we make the video? This is Shannon Whaler and I. We just sit very comfortably in Bab's office, and we're videoed. Then Shannon has about five questions or observations that wrap up the whole book. We put it together in maybe about 30 minutes, 35 minutes, the whole thing. Rather than me going chapter by chapter and explaining what the person can very easily get, just by reading it.
You can read the whole book in an hour. I was finding my explanation of it was taking an hour and a half. Crazy things, because I was just being slavish to the ... I said, look, you were more economical, and you didn't even write it. Now you're spending an hour and a half on it. I just find a freeform discussion. Again, it adds another dimension to it. I'll say things if I'm not chained to the actual progression of words that are in the text.
This is ... We're exploring a really, really interesting topic, is that procrastination comes from something you're very unclear about, or uncommitted about time, how you handle time. Virtually everything we've talked about here is what you do ... Since we started in July of 2016, virtually everything, every topic, every new insight we've had is about the understanding of time, the organization of time, the utilization of time. Procrastination, the reason why you're procrastinating, is something off about your time understanding or time organization.
Dean: Yes. I totally get that. It fits with what we're talking about, this is really, it fits with more of an entrepreneurial approach to time, or a creative approach to time too, as opposed to ... Chronological time really is a bureaucratic approach to ...
Dan: Yeah. I was looking at the first statement, because this is the number three mindset for this one, just to get a little bit of discipline in here, Dean, before we have to sign out. You were trying to avoid the discipline part too.
Dan: As caused by our ambition, the number three is that procrastination is totally caused because you have a picture of something that you'd like to achieve in the future, but you're running into some roadblocks with your ambition. Your ambition is introducing something confused or complicated or conflicted in your thinking, and that's really why you're procrastinating. The first one, you just brought up the word bureaucratic, but the first statement is, you're totally trapped in a business where better results are opposed and prevented. That sounds like a good description of bureaucracy.
I think it's the tyranny of their time system that makes bureaucracy so unsatisfying for people who are in them.
Dean: I think you're right, because it's almost like, these are the work hours, and these are the ... I think that's really something. Because it is, yeah, it's nine to five, that's the bureaucratic business hours, and you can feel totally trapped in that, because if you really look at it, if we take those things, that's really less than half of your available 10 minute blocks, if we've, instead of trying to just constrain them within that trap of the work day.
Dan: Here's a saying, Scott Adams, the cartoonist who's ...
Dean: Love him.
Dan: Who's been doing such great blogs on the political scene for the last two years, but Gilbert, the cartoon that he pioneered. This would be a typical thing. Dean, you have an idea, and you encounter me, let's say we're getting coffee, and we're working in a bureaucracy, and you say, Dan, I have this really interesting idea. I look at my watch, and I say, Dean, why don't you send me a memo on it? Cross reference so and so and so too. Then we'll have a meeting and we'll talk about it.
Okay. Because of our schedule, which is already really packed, the first time that we can actually talk about is three weeks down the road. But first, you have to write a memo to it. There's a standard form in which the memo has to take place. You just don't have the juice for writing the memo to set up a meeting for three weeks down the road to talk about a topic that you're the only one that knows about. That idea is, as Scotty said to Captain Kirk, "She's dead, Jim."
Dan: That idea is dead. That just shows you, I take that it's the tyranny of the time system that kills any possibility of the new idea.
Dean: Yeah. I get that. It's an interesting thing, because it does come back to what I said earlier, as a creative, realizing that for new ideas, it takes time. I recognize that in the past, it has required that I keep all of my time free, so that I'm available in case I am able to wrestle myself into focusing on something. But, this kind of thing really, it's almost like I can select this little kit, if I can attach to what my next step is on something, I'm able to have a sense of how much I can spend one of these blocks on it at any time.
At any time, whenever I have to.
Dan: I think the other thing that's very motivating, because I can ... Even something that I'm not looking forward to, I can do it for 10 minutes. I can do it for 10 minutes. The maximum commitment I'm required, let's just put 10 minutes into it. I think you're really onto something here. This really strikes me as a very phenomenal way of structuring time, and very, very manageable and very, very abundant within a very, very abundant context.
Dan: I've got a 100, on any given day-
Dean: That's it. I found that to be, that's much more practical, in my mind, because the fact is that I get 100, but my ability to deploy them is diminishing as the day goes on, kind of thing. I can't, at the end of the day, chooses that takes 30 of them for instance. The time that you have them, I get that sense of abundance, but also, marrying to the reality of that, the chronological time being the reality of it, that I can ... It's up to me, I can deploy as many of these blocks as I want, or they can ... Or it'll just happen.
Which, I find a lot of the time, I would be interested to hear your assessment of the amount of time that just is ... I don't want to say not, wasted isn't the right word, but undeployed. Consciously, that we're not conscious blocks that you chose to put in them, kind of thing. Do you ae a sense of that? Yeah.
Dan: Yeah. I have a lot. I build a lot into every day, when I'm not ... I've gotten really good at not seeing it wasted, because I created that structure of three important things a day, if I get three important things a day, that's 100%. If I get a fourth one, I'm into bonus territory.
The other thing is, that when these things are in the schedule, and they involve other people, I have a rule for Anna, who's my Uber scheduler, a terrific scheduler, that I can never have two meetings closer than a half hour. The ending of one and the beginning of another.
Dean: That makes sense.
Dan: The reason is, that first of all, I don't want to feel pressed. If the one meeting goes five minutes over, I still have 25 minutes. I just want to clear my head, and then I'll be ready three or four minutes before the next one starts, totally focused on that. My meetings require, if I'm meeting with someone, requires an impact filter.
Dean: You can review. Yeah.
Dan: I'm not pressed. It's very intentional, it's either someone else's impact filter or it's my impact filter that's driving the meeting. No impact filter, no meeting. That's my role. If I get those three done in a day, that's a great day. Someone from the outside would look at that, and they'd say, there are five other hours that you didn't use there. I said, use them for what?
Dan: Yeah, use them for what. "You could've done this and this and this." I said, that wasn't, any of those things that you talk about are on my three most important things for the day. I could see the frustration, people saying, "God, you realize how much more productive you would be if you just utilized those other five hours, which you seem not to utilize?" I said, I've tested that theory over 70 years, and I said, I actually end up less productive by looking at the way that you're talking about.
My three a day, five work days, probably six because I always use Sundays for writing. That, I take big blocks. It's pretty good. I said, I feel I'm making a lot of progress, I'm enjoying the work, and I'm very satisfied with the life I'm leading, using my system. How do you feel about your life from that standpoint?
I feel I always have more than enough time to get done ...
Dean: I was just going to say. If you've got 100 block allotment every day, and the things that you really want to get done require 30 of them, that an abundant-
Dan: You got more than ...
Dean: That's an abundant place to come from. Rather than, it's not about trying to really line up every block in the most efficient way so you're squeezing the most out of it. It's to really, I think, use the blocks to do the most important things, like your three ideas, and to have a relaxed pace around all of it.
Dan: Yeah. This is a thought for the next one, because we're essentially, we are two minutes from the end of our sixth 10 minute block for this particular podcast. How do you feel about what we've accomplished?
Dean: I think it's been fantastic.
Dan: Yeah. Everything ... Yeah. Here's a thought that I've been thinking about, because I do the podcast series with Peter Diamandis, and what I've noticed is, about this whole concept of abundance, that if you don't have a feeling and proof, that you have an abundance of time, you're not going to have a feeling of abundance of anything else in your life. It starts with a sense of abundance of time. No abundance of time, no abundance of anything else.
Dean: That's fascinating. I feel ...
Dan: I'm going to develop that thought a little bit more before ... I think our next one's scheduled a week from today.
Dean: I love it.
Dan: Yeah. I'm just more and more, I have to tell you, if you feel that you have to compete with technology, I can guarantee you, you don't have a feeling of abundance of time, because those fuckers, they just double the game every two years or every 18 months. They take the sense.
There's something weird about the way that people are handling time around technology. I don't think they've realized that interacting with technology actually takes away all the sense of abundance of time.
Dean: Wow. I'd love to hear more about that.
Dan: Yeah. It was just a thought that struck me within the last 30 seconds. That was one 20th of the 10 minute block of time.
Dean: Yeah, exactly.
Dan: I had that thought. Anyway, this is for further talking. You know what's going to happen to me, I'm going to be conscious of this between now and when I talk to you the next time. I'm really going to see what it actually does to the way that I'm handling my days. This has been terrific.
Dean: I love it. As always, Dan.
Dan: Yep. We're creating all sorts of new stuff in this one.
Dean: That's it. You enjoy your last week in Cape Cod, and then I will talk to you next week. I'll see you very shortly here.
Dan: Yeah. See you. Bye.
Dean: Okay. That's right.
Dan: Okay, thanks. Bye.
Dean: Thanks Dan, bye.