208: It’s Your Job To Make Space for Deep Thinking and Work


Welcome to episode #208 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. Achievers, do you love the feeling of checking off your to-do list? In fact, you might even put things on your to-do list that you’ve already done to then check them off. You celebrate how you are maximizing every waking moment. 

Achievers are often the person who gets things done so you feel the constant itch to be productive all the time and at the beck and call of others.

Yet, what keeps achievers awake at night is thinking of the really important things that they still haven’t done that matter to them. Their next career move, the next big work idea, their families, developing their people and making the plan for what’s next.

So they tackle the next day with renewed vigor, thinking “if I just get through the to-do list, I’ll have time to figure out how to have more time to do what matters and to make space for deep thinking and work.” 

It’s normal to make this kind of trade-off of short-term vs long-term gains. You would love to have more time to organize your life and figure out what’s next, but you feel like there’s an endless to-do list and the most important thing to do is to tackle that list. 

Long-term gains have a lag – you don’t see the results immediately so you don’t get any recognition at the moment for doing this work.

You’re also so used to being tired and exhausted that you’ve normalized anxiety and irritability, which also keeps you from thinking more strategically about the longer-term implications of not working on what’s most important and planning ahead beyond a few weeks or months.

You’ve also grown up in your life and career with so many examples of hard work and never sitting still that you may at times even resent other people who aren’t so tired or working so hard. 

Why do they get to have more time and space in their lives? Are they not giving it their all? Are their jobs less demanding? Do they not care about their work?  Perhaps, they just have lower standards than we do.

You also worry about job security. You don’t want to be the person who’s not working hard. You want to be recognized as being responsive and helpful because you’re usually working in a role where a lot of people need you. 

So if you can’t get to the big task that needs to be done and is really important, you might as well get a lot of little things done, right? Or you wait until it’s so obvious because either you leave, quit or get sick – or results are so poor – that “they” are to blame. You shrink and hide even if you feel like you’re still showing up – you know you’re becoming disengaged.

Yet, this is another paradigm shift of how we view our time that must occur for you to find your next level of growth and evolution.

Are you truly paid and compensated to think in the short-term, responding to urgent requests or emails? Is that what you’re going to put on your resume or share with the world as your legacy for the time you’re alive? Even if you were to leave (which is typical and normal), wouldn’t you want to feel like the time was used well and that you’re proud of what you’ve done?

There are always things we need to do and being responsive and answering emails or urgent requests are one of them. Yet, when most of your days are spent doing things that don’t feel like they move the needle in your work or life, it’s time to question it.

Are the most important things you need to do the things you can do in one or two minutes?

They are the work of you deeply thinking and deeply working. They require focused time and for you to go beyond superficial thinking or copy and paste type of work. To innovate and to create a new path forward requires you to make space for something new.

If you could have time to think and work deeply, what would you be able to accomplish? Truly think about that question. What are the things that you know are important for you to do that you’re not doing right now?

Those who are leading their lives and the lives around them are doing this work. They are rearranging their lives and days to fit what they decide is most important.

They have let go of the old roles they’ve played as someone who just diligently works on whatever is needed in the moment, but instead they challenge if that is truly the work that needs to be done. 

They have figured out now just how to work alone, but with other people who are demanding of their time. They realized that it is their job to make space for deep thinking in a world where others are easily getting the dopamine kick from deleting and responding to emails that aren’t as important.

Delaying gratification, communicating effectively, practicing patience and recognizing that the struggle of getting into the practice of making time for their work is the differentiator. The space to do deep work did not come to them, they created it.

They also realized that if they don’t create it, no one is going to save them. No one is going to make their lives simpler and easier.

So how does one go about creating space for deep work?

This is again where spiritual, high-performance strategies come into play.

I’ll share one of the strategies that I work with my clients to create more space in their lives.

This is a method I call Breakthrough Days. This is how you organize your days and time to create a structure that works for you. Everyone has different needs and responsibilities in their lives. 

This is why if you try to copy what your boss does or what someone else does, it often feels like it doesn’t work for you. 

You want to create the days and structures that work best for you. Not only that, once you create the days and structure – you have to practice it. This is where the true magic happens. You learn through integrating these practices into your life what your tendencies and patterns are of not stopping work when you said you would, or just diving into work that feels easier even though it’s not what’s important.

Coaching then helps you understand what is happening as you come up against roadblocks and even frustration at not doing what you said you would do. 

Time for your family and yourself to think and take action on your next career moves. Time for your health or your future endeavors. Time for you to practice your skills and get better at your gifts. Time to disconnect and be truly inspired. Time for you to understand who you are, what you’re here to do and what you stand for. This is what’s at stake.

How you think, feel and act are all related – and we begin to understand how these patterns are creating the results in your life of always feeling behind, not having enough time and things never being enough.

This Breakthrough Days practice then allows you to make time for your best work to occur and you realize that the way you do it might be different and own that instead of wishing it was different. 

It also helps you take into account how you might be creating additional stress and pressure in your life by how you’re reacting to all the demands – and how to then relieve the stress from the demands. 

Imagine getting an email that something you’re doing is late, not working or isn’t “right”. That might normally create a rise in blood pressure, body temperature or a feeling of panic or alarm in your body – and instead of having that ruin your day or week – it takes you a much shorter time to neutralize that response and go on with your day. 

You respond appropriately and helpfully instead of reacting angrily or with worry that you really messed up.

This isn’t because you have a nice or mean boss – this response is something within our control – especially as a leader. Breakthrough Days shows you how it is your job to make space for deep thinking so that you can deliver results and have time for your family, friends or to pursue new things. 

You plan things out more in advance and even if things are uncertain, you decide how to schedule them because you’re driving your life and work not letting your life and job dictate what and when you do things.

So I’ll ask you this, do you want to keep waiting for work or life events to dictate how you spend your time and react when the time comes?

Or do you want to make space for designing your life and work, even if you’re busy? 

If you want to take the second route, you’ll want to watch my free training on how to stop hiding and overworking and instead, stand out and lead a life of more time and financial freedom.

If you’d like to choose the latter and become a spiritual achiever, I invite you to watch the free training on how to Stand Out and Lead, using spiritual, high-performance strategies: STAND OUT AND LEAD.

You can apply to join my Spiritual Achiever® program, where you’re going to create your next chapter with spiritual and high-performance strategies to achieve time and financial freedom using my proven method. It’s risk-free. You either start seeing results within your first month or I give you your money back. Schedule your call here at www.mayempson.com/contact.  We’ll see you inside.

Want to know more about what happens when you join?

  1. When you join Spiritual Achiever® Coaching you’ll be supported for a full year: Career Revelation Academy: A 5-step career change process (if you have a job you want to stay in, I’ll show you how to love it even more) that can launch you into your next career chapter in 30 days.
  2. 2x/month group training and coaching on Spirituality, Achievement, Earth Energy and Harmony. You’ll know how to design your days for breakthroughs, create a personal brand and community, lead yourself and others through change, become more physically and mentally fit, reduce stress and reinvent what’s possible in this next chapter of your life.
  3. Discover your Leadership Strengths and Branding Workshop: Increase your awareness of what makes YOU different from others and how to become even better at your genius zone.
  4. Your Best Year workshop: Create your one year plan and design this next year, no matter what time of the year it is.
  5. Your Next 5 Years one-day virtual retreat: Vision what’s possible 5 years from now and break out of your old routines so you can step into new habits, behaviors and routines.
  6. Tickets to all in-person Spiritual Achiever retreats (discounted rates): Highly immersive and intimate gatherings where we spend time in nature, experience energy work, eat and move well – all while making big decisions and committing to what’s next for us.
  7. Monthly 1:1 Coaching Sessions: To help you break through obstacles, define your individual path, and to work on both strategy and mindset.

The next step?

Schedule a consultation to get clarity on how coaching can help you on your journey.

Once you’re accepted into the program, you’ll receive a calendar invite for a 2-hour deep dive 1:1 session to map out your personal goals and your own year-long journey.

You’ll have immediate access to the Spiritual Achiever process and philosophy – how to achieve your biggest goals and reinvent your life.

You’ll have immediate access to 5 modules of Career Revelation Academy – to love your career even more and launch that next chapter of your career in 30 days.

You’ll have the calendar invites for the upcoming group calls and retreats.

If this speaks to you, I can’t wait to talk to you live: Schedule a consultation.

Reach out at www.mayempson.com/contact for more information on my Spiritual Achiever coaching program. You’ll figure out what’s next and actually go and do it. 

That’s it for this week. Have an amazing one and I’ll talk to you next time.

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