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Fuel Your Mind Friday

Sharpen Your Focus, Work Less, & Accomplish More

Published about 2 months ago • 3 min read

Week 393 (brendan@brendanbarca.com)

Here's your weekly dose of Fuel Your Mind Friday where I share business building ideas, lifestyle design hacks, and inspirational content to help you thrive in your work and find purpose in your life.

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PSA: My wife, Pema Sherpa, and I have another blog called The Mindful Minute! Check it out.

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SHARPEN YOUR FOCUS, WORK LESS, & ACCOMPLISH MORE


In America, we've been bred to accept the 40-hour workweek as the norm. But where did this arbitrary number even come from?

It turns out, this 40-hour framework originated from a little piece of legislation known as the 1938 Fair Standards Labor Act. In its day, the law protected hourly workers by guaranteeing a certain number of hours per week, and thus a weekly pay they could rely on. But with the enhancement of technology, enabling business to get done faster than ever, is this 40-hour concept outdated?

As American author and columnist, Cal Newport, sights in his article in The New Yorker, changes may be underway. A California Democrat introduced a new bill, The Thirty-Two Hour Workweek Act, which would introduce a 4-day work week. Companies may fear less employee hours means lower production and capped growth potential. But a recent experiment with 4-day work weeks at Microsoft Japan indicated this to be far from the truth. After switching to 3-day weekends, Microsoft Japan reported that efficiency increased across the board which resulted in a 40% productivity boost across the business.

While you may not be a CEO who can go about making fast changes at your company, simply understanding that there is no correlation between hours worked and what we can accomplish can be a revelation. We often tell ourselves that the reason we can't pursue a side hustle, get a new job, or begin a new hobby is because we don't have the time. But is it time we're lacking or an ability to prioritize what's truly important?

Many of us don't take the time to ask ourselves what's important to us. In my mid twenties I was one of those people. And after a few years of working 50+ hour weeks I realized (a little late) that I was in a career that didn't fulfill me. Back then I was focused too much on the task of trying to climb the corporate ladder that I never took a moment to ask myself how I wanted to spend my hours each day. I was too far in the weeds and couldn't see the birds-eye-view of my situation.

Back then, I created a journaling exercise that helped me to see my situation from a birds-eye-view, identify my priorities, and create longterm goals that didn't take massive amounts of time to accomplish. Here is the series of questions I asked myself:


10-Year Vision & Goal Prioritization Exercise:

Question #1: If I could do anything I wanted, without fear of failure, what would a day in my career look like 10-years from today?

Question #2: Keeping my 10-year vision in mind, what 1-3 things should I aim to accomplish within the next year?

Question #3: Given what I want to accomplish this year, what should my monthly goal be?

Question #4: Given what I want to accomplish this month, what should my goal be this week?

Question #5: How can I pursue these goals using the least amount of hours each week?

Note: Question #1 is the hardest question to answer. I'd recommend doing either a long form journal entry or creating a "word cloud" to help get some ideas going. The key though is to listen to your intuition and not allow fear to restrict your vision.


Too often the 40-hour workweek mentality has us reaching to achieve short-term goals like finishing a work project in 5 in weeks or losing 5 lbs for next month's wedding. But, we need to stop thinking in short-term bursts and instead think in long-term, strategic goals. For example, a long-term goal could be to write and publish a book. This may take 5 years, but if it aligns with your career and life vision, then the whole process is worth it.

Once we prioritize what's truly important to us, and neglect the rest, we find that we have more time than we thought as our focus is sharper.

Get clear on what you want. Know that it's not a lack of time that's getting in your way, but a lack of priority. And then create weekly systems that help you chip away at your longterm goal.


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- Brendan

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Fuel Your Mind Friday

Brendan Barca - Entrepreneur | Speaker | Blogger

Helping busy professionals create space through mindfulness, level-up their mindset & design a life with purpose.

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