Monthly update: A weird world and not enough time

Sep 24, 2022 5:05 am


Coming up this month:

  • The world has gone weird and I don't get it
  • How to transform any conversation in the first five seconds
  • Dealing with the "not enough time" problem
  • And more!

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🫀 Why is everything so weird?

I feel the need to write something about the economy, but it's a struggle because – to be honest – I have no idea what's going on.

The economy is apparently struggling, yet there's basically no unemployment and every sector is struggling to hire.

There are random shortages of odd items in all my grocery orders.

There seems to be a severe under-supply of rental property, even though the population has (as far as I know) been growing more slowly than it has done in the past.

Trains are running a reduced service for no good reason I can identify, even when they're not on strike.

What's happening?

I can only assume this is still the effect of turning the economy off for a year: now everything's in the wrong place, and it's taking time to figure itself out again. (And yes, I know there's geopolitical conflict and expensive energy, but that doesn't account for everything I've listed.)

If you've got any insights, I'd be glad to hear them.

The other thing that's struck me is how sharply the mood has shifted among investors. Take venture capital, for example: the companies that were effortlessly raising funding round after funding round are now struggling, and having to (shock horror) suddenly try to become profitable.

But what's changed in the real world to produce this change of sentiment? Not much. Sure, interest rates aren't zero anymore, but everyone knew that was going to happen sooner or later. A slowdown in the economy? Ditto.

Just like booms are always overly euphoric, busts way overdo the pessimism. If you can avoid getting caught up in either, you can do well whatever the prevailing mood.

⌚️ Where'd all the time go?

Having a new baby and another child just starting school, I'm struggling with having less time available than usual. A few observations from this:

1: I'm paying the price of managing my time pretty well beforehand. If I'd been someone who'd routinely gone on a Netflix binge or fallen down a TikTok hole, I could just cut back on that. It's a bit like how I often wish I smoked so I could give it up to save money.

2: It's made me realise how much administrative crap needs to be done just to keep life ticking over. If I don't spend an hour each day dealing with random stuff (pulling together info for my accountant, renewing a subscription, scheduling an appointment), the cracks start to show within a week.

Clearly there will be some way of outsourcing all this (Zuckerberg or Di Caprio won't be stressing about maintaining Inbox Zero), but I've yet to find a way that doesn't involve spending just as much time explaining to someone else how to deal with these million tiny things as it would take to do it myself.

3: And finally, the positive: there are lessons in what I'll let slip, and what I absolutely won't. I'm never tempted to skip a gym session to claw back some time, for example. But there are certain tasks I was doing out of habit (like reviewing my finances monthly) which I'd never have known I could drop unless I was forced to.

πŸ—£ Hi how are you good thanks how are you

Earlier this year I went on a conversation course (I wrote about it here, and a link to the course itself is here), and I was reflecting recently on what had stuck and what hadn't.

I've become lazy about striking up random conversations (although I'm working on it again), but a game-changer that I'm still using is always responding to "how are you" with a genuine answer.

The course leader called this "the lowest hanging conversational fruit", and it really is: it takes almost no effort, and it immediately signals that this interaction is going to be a bit different. It's particularly effective on Zoom calls for building rapport by sharing something personal and putting the other person at ease.

(Actually, it's a "genuine answer" only up to a point: if I'm feeling tired I'll say so, but will find a way to make a joke about it or share a personal reason why. That way it's bringing energy to the conversation rather than sucking it out.)

I've noticed that the best "people people" do this naturally, so you might be thinking "well duh". But if not, I highly recommend trying it.

🍿 Media picks

Because my reading is fully occupied by the classics at the moment as described last month (just about to crack on with The Bible), it's YouTube recommendations all the way this month...

πŸ’ͺ My favourite YouTube discovery of the month is Leon Hendrix. He produces personal development content in compelling way that sneaks the lessons in among the stories.

πŸ§˜β€β™‚οΈ Mike Winnet continues to skewer personal development gurus, recently attending Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi's epic five-day event. (Cue countless people writing in to defend Tony and say what a difference he's made in their lives. I don't doubt it – I'm just linking to something I found funny.)

πŸšƒ Here's what's brilliant about YouTube: a video about Swiss trains can pick up a million views, and another about cargo bikes in The Netherlands can achieve 600,000. They're both on the same channel, and I love it.

That’s it for September! Feel free to write back and let me know what you've been up to.



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