The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.
- George Bernard Shaw, Maxims for Revolutionists
I love the book The Four-Hour Workweek. I love The Energy Project. And I love this Harvard Business Review blog post.
The gist of these grand tales is that we should stop working so much, and start prioritizing our lives to be what we want them to be. The risk inherent in this, of course, is that a) we fail to meet deadlines, b) we fail to look like we're working as hard as other people, c) we fail to get as much stuff done. So I think we're seeing that it's a fear of failure here (at least it is in my world).
But I like the principles and I am learning from my new manager (of about 6 weeks now) that this is actually possible. If you ignore the chatter of the silly, you can focus on the challenges that matter. One more book for you: Long Fuse, Big Bang. This one has a great quote that really stuck with me - "Don't let the tyranny of the urgent stifle the pursuit of the important."
Set aside time to think. Prioritize prioritization. Calm your mind and reflect on the day behind you. Then calm your mind and prepare your head for the day in front of you.
Now, to get to that 4-hour workweek... (though I'm fairly certain I could never really just work just four hours a week as I would be bored out of my mind...)