Allowing “Slack” As A Pre-requisite For Self Care, Productivity & Serendipity

Anything that’s held too tight and taut, leaves little to no room for creativity and to be a decent human being.

– Me, 2024

Have you ever experienced speaking to people who are very busy or rushed? You may be curtly stopped or even yelled at or maybe ignored or slow to be responded to.

Busy-ness isn’t always good.

Pareto’s principle of 80/20 rule suggests that 20% of what we do delivers 80% of the result that we want. That means that 80% of the time, we’re wasting time. Just by this alone, spending 20% on core activities should be the key focus, followed by 20% on the next important core activities and so on and so forth.

Therefore the focus should be on 80/20 approach to focus on the highest yielding and most important activities and relationship, not on busy-ness.

What I’m saying is that to focus on what’s important, not just on being busy or trying to hit 100% all of the time.

I’ve almost always incorporated and allowed for slack in my personal schedule, business and for the people I work with or hire. I have not given people a 100% engaged schedule, simply because I dont believe in that.

Frankly, I’ve never understood why and how individuals and companies do not factor in additional room for slack for their workers, or how people when they fly, they fly red-eye flights, arrive on the morning of the trip and “hit the ground running”.

These same people would then maximize their travel schedule to use up each and every hour, and fly JUST the day before they go back to work, either arriving back at home late at night or in the morning of work, and going to work that day itself.

They say it’s to maximize their annual leaves and days off, which I can understand, but…how man.

Maybe I’m just weak – I would take an additional 2 days off, so I can fly a day before, during office hours, arrive afternoon or evening, to settle into the hotel or accommodation so that my next day I can start refreshed and not tired after an all-night or overnight red-eye flight.

Heck, I may even fall sick with such a tight schedule!

Same thing for the people I hire, I tell them the general work scope they have, and I tell them what’s the key priorities for them, allowing lots of slack between where they can stretch their legs, say hi to their family or friends but when it’s time to work, we crunch and rock it.

The key question is…why?

Is it wasteful?

Personally, I find this approach more satisfying and more effective though it seems wasteful, because if one is always engaged, I can imagine the person may

  1. be irritable tired or worse
  2. curt to leads calling on the phone
  3. miss details cos of busy-ness

and other busy-related problems such as being less-than-an-inspiring or at the very least, normal human with ability to relate, smile and empathize.

Same thing for my holiday approach, I dont want to arrive tired (or even sick) from the rushing, and then spend even more time resting or having to see a doctor. I want to be unrushed and effective, rather than being rushed and ineffective.

Lastly, allowing some slack can allow for you the space to smell the roses, slow down a bit and enjoy life and others and yourself just a tad more, isnt it?

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