Contributed by Robert Glazer, the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global partner marketing agency and the recipient of numerous industry and company culture awards. He is the author of the inspirational newsletter Friday Forward and international bestselling author of four books: Elevate, Friday Forward, How To Thrive In The Virtual Workplace and Performance Partnerships. He is also the host of The Elevate Podcast.
There is a common saying in construction that for every project, you can pick two of three attributes: speed, quality or price.
For example, if you want a project to be done quickly and at a high quality, that will cost you more. You can also have a project done quickly and cheaply, but you’ll be sacrificing quality. Finally, you can get high quality work for a lower price, but you’d better be prepared for a long wait.
This Pick Two Rule of the construction world underscores a basic truth: While we can have everything we may want, we typically can’t have it all at once. Many things in life are a tradeoff and when we try to make everything a priority, nothing gets our full attention.
The Pick Two Rule is a great way to contextualize the tradeoffs we make in our daily lives. Specifically, this applies to how we manage our time across competing objectives—from family, work and what bestselling author Ryan Holiday calls “scene.” Our scene is whatever we love to do for ourselves; it could be travel, concerts, working out, dinner with friends, or otherwise. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to give full focus to work, family and scene at the same time.
Many people’s 20s and early 30s are dominated by work and scene, which works well with the Pick Two Rule. However, once kids come along, or if you become responsible for your aging parents’ care, that family bucket starts to require much more time, which puts a strain on the time available for work and scene.