I wrote before how Jay-Z didn't wait for permission to go after what he wanted, he gave himself permission. From talking to our Tribe I saw that it's not a person's permission we're all waiting on, it's time.
Whether it's breaking free from your current job to try something else, or building something of your own, time is the obstacle that stands in everyone's way.
In order to architect a life that allows you to do more of what you want, the first step is taking ownership of the clock.
Here’s a 3-step process to put the clock on your side so you have more time to do what you want.
1) The Burner Method
I learned of a similar concept earlier this year and applied it in a different way. I call it The Burner Method. Let’s think of our time as a range top stove with 4 burners. At any given time we can only have 2 things on the front burner and 2 things on the back burner. The front burners are the things we are actively ‘cooking up’, while the back burners are the things that are just ‘simmering’ in the background.
Break your life down to just FOUR BURNERS. Anything more than that and you have too much cooking. Something will burn, and something will undercook. Ask yourself, “What are the 4 most important things in my life right now? Of those 4, what 2 things require my active attention, and what 2 things can I put more on autopilot?”
Right now my stove looks like this:
I know that these are the 4 most important things in my life right now. And that’s not to say that absolutely nothing else happens, I just simply don’t prioritize anything else and work other things in when I can. It might sound F’d up, but you’ll notice things like family, social life, and dating aren’t on my stove. I don’t mean I never go on dates, I just know that dating is one of the last things I work into my schedule, and that’s if I find I have time and actually want to go on one instead of just relax.
In order for me to achieve the things I want long-term, I know everything else needs to take a backseat to my 4 most important things right now.
You’ll notice that Music Career is on the backburner right now. If you’ve been following along with me in recent months you know that I’ve started to take my music career more seriously, having released an album in April followed by a couple live performances. At that time, music was in the front burner and yoga was in the back. Now, I’m getting more serious with my yoga practice and that’s upfront right along with Idea Lemon. (And remember, being in the back just means it’s simmering instead of actively cooking.
With The Burner Method, you have the power to move your pans from front to back, and vice versa.
Identify your top 4 priorities and determine what are on the front burners and what are on the back burners.
2) The Rock Rule
If you don’t know, I have a mancrush on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. He’s managed to conquer every field he steps into. The dude started as a pro wrestler, then became a Hollywood A-Lister, and is now a TV Producer and star of the new HBO Show “Ballers”.
How did he do this? He merged interests. He made blockbuster movies, but used that to further promote his wrestling career. And then he used wrestling to further promote his acting career.
We have our 4 burners full. How do we make room for new things? Merge.
Yoga is a top priority for me, and I put music on the back burner in order to bring yoga to the front. However, I’m pulling music to the front along with yoga (merging the two) by practicing arm balances and inversion poses while rapping, and posting those videos to Instagram (@rajnation if you want to check ‘em out).
In so doing, I make sure I keep flexing my creative muscles by writing and rapping 4-6 lines at a time, AND flex my actual muscles by testing if I can hold a pose for a 15-second video while I rap.
In merging yoga with music, I open up a burner.
What do I want to throw on the stove now? Well, how about a social life so I don’t go crazy. Here’s my stove now:
Great--I can afford a social life with my time now, which is perfect because I keep a dinner club (called Dead Poets (Dinner) Society) where I get friends together to check out new restaurants. I had let it fall by the wayside for a bit because I couldn’t prioritize it, but by merging yoga and music, I'm able to bring the dinner club back into my life.
First narrow down your top 4 priorities with the burner method, then create space on the stove by merging your interests with The Rock Rule.
3) The Ansari Effect
You know Aziz Ansari, right? He played Tom Haverford on the show Parks & Rec, has been in several movies, and is a very successful standup comedian.
I call this next move in taking control of the clock The Ansari Effect. That is, Aziz Ansari takes what he does in one field and uses it to launch a new field. I mentioned in a previous post how Jay-Z used transferable skills to start his record label, which is The Ansari Effect in action. Aziz himself worked romance and modern dating into his standup routine, and in so doing collected tons of material on how people interact with one another in the Age of Tinder. He literally takes peoples’ phones during the show and reads their Tinder conversations on-stage.
Now, most people would stop there and not touch that material outside of their domain. What did Aziz do? He used the material to launch himself into a new field. He recently released a book on digital dating called Modern Romance. That’s right, he started with a good bit in a standup routine and used that material to add “author” to his repertoire.
I’m flirting with the idea of becoming a yoga teacher in the next 12-18 months. But not just any yoga teacher, a rapping yoga teacher. I can take the material I’ve built up and convert my Yoga + Music burner into Rapping Yoga Teacher. I can use The Ansari Effect and launch into a new field.
Hip Hop Yoga Shop, anyone?
If that plan comes to fruition, in 12-18 months, my stove would look like this:
Notice that in this 12-18 month outlook I now have a backburner open. That’s because in that ideal stove, I no longer do freelance work and have time for something else.
After merging interests with The Rock Rule, and launching something new with The Ansari Effect, we open up space on the stove.
Not all time is created equal, and we need stop acting like it is. Follow this 3-step process of The Burner Method, The Rock Rule, and The Ansari Effect to own your time and do more of what you want.
Download the image below to narrow down to your top 4 and get started with The Burner Method. Share this image with someone who you know is pressed for time!
Take care and be awesome.
What up! My name is Rajiv Nathan and I'm the Cofounder of Idea Lemon. That banana peel you slipped on to land here came from me. That's because I fancy myself a human Curious George, and the yellow hat I chase is life's authentic moments. I share my chase one story at a time through this blog, our email newsletter, and as a rapper.
Oh and I'm a WWE fan 4 lyf!