How to Revamp Busy Work, Overcome Boredom and Fix Burnout

Jenny Blake

Create smarter systems to free up more free time.

In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

… you’ll find out how author and podcast host of not one, but two podcasts–Jenny Blake–helps people move from friction to flow so they can do more of their best work.

This conversation about her newest book, “Free Time: Lose the Busywork, Love Your Business,” explains that business stress is a systems problem. She’s going to give you solid advice on how you can avoid overwork, burnout and run your business and your life with a lot more joy. Her mission? To set 50 million hours free through smarter systems.

Companies often do a great job at attracting the best and brightest employees, Jenny says, but not keeping them learning and growing and engaged. Inevitably, boredom sets in. You can have all these brilliant people working in intense environments that can lead to burnout. They are short on time to do their work, Jenny continues, and they’re also short on creative expression within that corporate context.

Many business owners, too, especially small ones, carry the weight of what Jenny calls the Burdensome Bs: 1) bottlenecked, 2) bored, and 3) burned out. And news flash about the myth of hard work for business owners: There’s no reward for doing “all the work” other than burnout.

You can change that narrative. Running a business does not have to be so hard, or stressful, or overwhelming. Strategic shifts can move any business’s operating zone from friction to flow. Wherever you encounter excessive friction, apply the Align-Design-Assign process.

  • Align: values, energy strength
  • Design: outcomes, impact, process
  • Assign: who, what, when

“Freeing time is a skill, and the skill behind it is systems thinking.”

Jenny Blake

Revamping systems and processes also leads you to the real prize: time. Time is not money, time is life force.

“Money is infinite on some level,” Jenny says, “Money can be abundant. Money can be a creative thought exercise. Money can be problem-solving. It is figure-out-able, but time isn’t. Some would say time is nonlinear, but time is ticking and it’s finite. It’s not necessarily a renewable resource. Time is far more precious than money. We should be far more considerate with how we’re spending our time, who we want to spend it with, how present we are when we are choosing our activities and the people that we’re with.”

You’re going to get a lot of smart business and life tips from this episode and Jenny’s book, “Free Time.” Here are some how-tos:

  • Time block and bake in batches—starting with blocking your calendar one year out for deep work days
  • Identify the DNA of projects, meaning how you bake is as important as what you make
  • Structure Delightfully Tiny Teams for maximum flexibility
  • Establish a Fiji Test where each team member continually makes themselves replaceable every day
  • Achieve escape velocity through smarter systems and doubling what you delegate
  • Solve for Sisyphean Systems and the crush of the inbound (i.e., email, social media, questions from your team)
  • Avoid Franken-stringing software while still developing stronger techtuition
  • Cultivate nonlinear breakthroughs through intuition, serendipity and surrender
  • Reach for high net freedom versus solely emphasizing high net worth
  • And much more!

Keep in mind that you can have friction and flow in all areas of your life, not just work. “Whether it’s friction about your diet or friction with your energy, friction is tension,” Jenny says. “You feel drained, dread, you’re procrastinating. Things just feel so much harder than they need to be. And then flow is that state of effortlessness. Time is passing and you don’t even realize it.”

Jenny helps you find a flow state (and free time!) with your entire being and your entire mind-body-spirit system.

More about Jenny Blake: She’s the author of the award-winning book “Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One.” She’s co-creator of Google’s acclaimed global Career Guru coaching program and was the first employee at a political polling startup later acquired by YouGov America. She currently hosts two podcasts: Free Time with Jenny Blake for heart-based business owners and Pivot with Jenny Blake for navigating change.

Enjoy the show!

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  • In addition to being a TED attendee and other stuff like an author, you spent five years at Google. You co-created their career guru coaching program.  – 1:57
  • Free Time can be leisure time, what do we do when we’re not working? But I also see it as a verb. Freeing time is a skill, and the skill behind it is systems thinking.  – 6:54
  • So like anything, systems do need maintenance. I don’t know about you, but I love geeking and Zapier. So I set up Zaps. These really intricate Zaps that will handle a lot in the business so that no one on my team has to do busy work or minutia.  – 10:45
  • I started blogging in 2005, taught myself how to code websites from scratch in the text file just for the fun of it. But there’s now software and tools that exist now that didn’t even exist a year ago or two years ago.  – 12:39
  • How can we work together to automate or get this off your plate or subcontract or whatever. I call it the Fiji test. I want every single person on the team to try to make themselves replaceable every day. – 14:43
  • What do you say about time management if you’re still building your career?  – 19:09
  • What I’m always asking almost as a creative inquiry is how can I generate abundant time, money, and energy? Or what can I do that’s at that intersection of revenue, ease and joy? And then I feel that’s where the really interesting ideas happen.  – 21:57
  • Time is passing and you don’t even realize it. And so much of what you do. I know Dave is like helping us find a flow state and a flow state with our entire being and our entire mind body spirit system.  – 27:05
  • I do have lists. So I was telling you before we record, I run my entire business on notion. It’s this incredible software that’s almost overwhelming for how customizable it is.  – 31:32
  • You do something else though that seems unachievable, two hour wind up and a two hour wind down on either end of your day. How does that work?  – 40:29
  • I think so many of us desperately crave focus and focus time. – 49:11
  • I think sometimes people become obsessed with finding a mentor or somebody who’s so successful. And the worst question of all time, “Can I pick your brain?”  – 59:50
  • But it’s interesting with something like coding of how immersive it is. I guess, coding, gaming, play speaking. I mean, there, there are these things that put us in that pocket and it’s true. It’s so valuable. You don’t want to leave. It’s so good to have that open space to get in there and stay there.  – 1:08:58

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