Justin Ricklefs


The Tyranny of Today

The car full of six bleary eyed middle-schoolers (and their chauffeur) didn’t utter a word. The 6:40am Monday carpool is always a beat down.

Following a weekend of firepits, football, sleepovers, fort building and other shenanigans, Monday showed up in a way that felt cruel this morning to that crew.

And maybe for all of us.

For the average American office worker, here’s what’s coming at us today:

  • 120 emails
  • 80 notifications on our “smart” device (pro tip, the actual smart thing to do is turn those damn things off)
  • 94 text messages
  • Last week’s to do list that didn’t get finished
  • A frantic pace of attention hopping in fits and spurts

Social media buzzing, Slack messages, the phone call that is soooo urgent, and the list goes on.

The tyranny of today is dead set on keeping us distracted, disheveled, and discouraged.

Piling on a level of stress, anxiety, fear, and urgency that feels more like whack-a-mole than sanity, let alone productivity and progress.

If we’re not intentional, aware, and rigorous to stand against the tyranny of everyone else’s agenda for us, we’ll just rinse and repeat the cycle again tomorrow, next month, and the next decade.

Constantly wondering when we’ll have the time for those important projects, that life-giving work, or heaven forbid some rest and a walk around the block.

My particular personality, and our particular company, are especially prone to the chaos of it all. And we’re working really damn hard to shift out of the frantic harry that loves to pull you into the frenzy, so that we can work, breathe, and build something a bit more strategic, sustainable and fulfilling.

Go ahead, close out your email tab, turn off your phone, and shut down Slack. Look at that post it note or lingering project you’ve left by you for weeks. Take three, big, awkward, full breaths. Set your timer for 30 minutes, and dig in and do the work.

The work that will actually move the needle, not just pour more gasoline on the tyrannical dumpster fire.

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