Every 7th Week Off, Async Board, Podcast Re-Launch, Work & Reflection | #181
May 14th, 2022: Greetings from Austin! Today I’m sharing a bunch of updates on the newsletter, my seventh-week sabbatical experiments, a “board” I recently appointed, my podcast re-launch, and some work thoughts as always.
The success of my book has been exciting and it’s been a good confirmation that people want to hear stories and ideas relating to carving new paths in the world. Although I haven’t been able to support us financially doing this, I want to make sure that I can continue to work on these things over the long-term because I think they matter.
I want to keep writing and bringing stories of people’s unconventional paths into the world and the biggest thing holding me back is the creeping administrative burden of many of the things I’m doing. This is why I’m officially seeking out potential sponsors for this newsletter and/or podcast or a large grant from a crypto billionaire. I’d be able to then use the money to double down on doing more episodes and spending even more time here.
To do this, I’d love if you’d help me out with filling out this survey so I can understand the makeup of my readers. I threw in a couple fun questions that I’ll write about in coming weeks too.
#1 Seventh-week sabbaticals update
In 2021 I had a conversation with Sean McCabe on my podcast about taking every seventh-week off. He had been doing it for years and also had implemented it for his entire team, which I thought was incredible.
I decided to try it.
Sean did it to cut back on overwork but my goal was to try to be more structured around my work. I was doing what I wanted on most days of the year but wasn’t pushing those things to the finish line. So I decided to structure every six-week work block around 1-2 priorities with the goal to ship those things no matter what.
It’s worked well.
It helped me complete my book. It helped me to package some of my consulting offerings better. It has helped me to take a step back and look at the big picture. And it also has helped me to purposefully inject “leisure mode” into my life on those weeks off. It feels very sustainable over the long-term.
One challenge on my path, now that I have a lot of things I really like doing, is making sure I purposefully maintain a certain level of non-doing into my life. For me, the active work mode only is possible if I am continuously feeding my soul with non-doing and non-work. The secret to writing seems to be not writing.
So last week I had no plan. Nothing on the calendar. No work to do. I wake up and wander and see where the day takes me. On Monday I left on a bike and ended up at a cliff overlooking Austin. It was beautiful and I was once again reminded that our world is beautiful. On the way back I decided to grab a coffee and sit outside staring at the river for a while. It was nice.
When’s the last time you wandered without a destination?
Taking every seventh week works really well with entrepreneurs and creators and I encourage more people to try it. If you do, I’d love to hear your results.
#2 Async Board of Thoughtful Humans
Building on the success of the 7th-week-off schedule, I recently appointed a Board of Thoughtful Humans (working name?!) with whom I am going to share a short 2-4 page google document every 7th week with what I’m doing, the successes I’ve had, the challenges I’m facing, and the things I need help with.
All I’m asking from them is to read the document and add comments if they have anything to add.
I stole this idea from Howard Gray, who has been doing something similar for a while. I noticed how excited I was every time I saw his letter (he calls it “The Circle”) and decided that perhaps some people might feel the same about my update.
This is part of my 2022 effort to seek out more support, more mentors, and solicit more feedback on the things I’m thinking about. I realized this might be a worthwhile thing to do after talking to a friend and him being shocked that I never ask anyone for advice about anything I’m doing - I just sort of make decisions and move forward. My hunch is that leaning in the direction of advice might not only be helpful for what I’m doing but could be a way to deepen some existing relationships.
Most of the people I sent it to have reacted positively and I’ve received many helpful comments so far and it gave me the nudge to take action on a number of things I’ve just been letting sit in my head rent-free.
If you are interested in joining this Board, I am happy to include a few more people, just send me a short note with why you want to help me!
One part I’ll share with you is the goals I set for this work block:
Goals For This “Work Block” - Ends June 17th
Rename podcast to The Pathless Path with Paul Millerd, Launch Cover & New Music, and hire an editor: One of the things I want to do is shift more focus to the podcast again. I love interviewing people but it just isn’t happening because I tend to do other things than things and they give me a lot of energy but I’ve let things like editing and sitting down to write get crowded out by admin stuff, emails, and other distractions
Launch Audio Book By June: I’m about 95% done with recording. I’m editing it this week, writing an intro, and hopefully shipping this soon.
Put out an “offer” for sponsorship: Ideally would love a “lead sponsor” for the podcast and newsletter that would fund editing for my podcast and also youtube.
I’ll follow up at the end of this period and see how I did!
#3 Leisure Mode vs. Worker Mode
This past week I hosted a 2.5-hour “salon” on the topic of work and one of the participants sent out a poll to his audience after the session. He asked whether people felt they had enough time to reflect and also their job status:
It’s a small sample size but an incredibly strong signal and maps to what I hear from people in my conversations. His poll showed a large majority of people employed full-time felt like they lacked the time to reflect on their lives and in contrast, two of every three people not fully employed did feel like they had sufficient time to reflect on their life.
There are likely two things happening here:
Those wanting to reflect on their life opt-out of full-time employment at higher rates (I generally enjoy thinking about how to live life, many people don’t)
There is something about full-time employment that undermines the ability to reflect on life
In our conversation, we talked about the fact that because so many people anchor around the idea of continuous year-round 40-hour workweeks, we don’t even consider or know that anything else is possible.
I didn’t know anything else was possible until I left my job and in several extended stretches of non-work had realized that I had duped myself into thinking I was taking breaks from work when I was on “vacation.”
Josef Pieper knew this in 1947:
The simple ”break” from work - the kind that lasts an hour, or the kind that lasts a week or longer - is part and parcel of daily working life. It is something that has been built into the whole working process, a part of the schedule. The ”break” is there for the sake of work. It is supposed to provide ”new strength” for ”new work,” as the word ”refreshment” indicates: one is refreshed for work through being refreshed from work.
The optimal number of 40-hour workweeks during the year in terms of doing great work is likely not between 48 and 52. This is not to say I think we should work less, but instead to say that we are not machines. I can often accomplish more by working 60 hours one week followed by 10 hours the next rather than two straight 35-hour weeks. I imagine many of you are the same, its just we often don’t get the chance to test it.
#4 Podcast Relaunch - The Pathless Path
From 2017 to 2019 I regularly podcasted about one every week or so. Since then, less often. It was easier in those years because I simply had less going on.
Now I have a bunch of other things I’m doing and the administrative tax has meant that I’ve dropped the ball on editing, and all the backend stuff you need to do after recording. So finding a sponsor, which I mentioned above, is about helping me fund an editor to take care of the things that slow me down.
Here’s the new cover I came up with:
I have about 1,000 subscribers right now which means most of you are not subscribed. If you follow podcasts, I’d love a little support. It will also give me the boost of confidence to get over the activation energy of moving forward again.
#5 Book Update
Crossed 2,500 book sold this week 🤯 - here are the stats.
I’m also grinding on finishing my audiobook, which has been a harder process than I imagined! If you haven’t bought the book yet, you know what to do.
#6 Sababtical Thoughts
Cecile had some great reflections on taking time off. A lot of people sort of imagine that lots of time off would be wonderful. However, learning how to travel, embrace non-work, and ease into a more uncertain journey are probably closer to thind
Hey There! Thanks for reading!
I am focused on building a life around exploring ideas, connecting and helping people, and writing. If you’d like to support my journey, the best ways are to:
Buy my book, The Pathless Path
Purchase one of my courses on freelancing or reinventing your path
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