Episode 88.5 – Green Apple Slice


A Not-To-Do List to Cultivate Work-Life Balance


The Green Apple Podcast does weekly “Green Apple Slices”, where John Garrett and Rachel Fisch discuss a recent business article related to the Green Apple Message. These shorter segments are released each Monday, so don’t miss an episode by subscribing on iTunes or Stitcher.

This week, John and Rachel discuss a HR Digest article, “A Not-To-Do List to Cultivate Work-Life Balance” by Anna Verasai.


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    John: Hello. Happy Monday. It’s John Garrett coming to you with another episode of Green Apple Slices. I’m here with Rachel Fisch, the opera grand poobah owner of all things accounting Canada’s – something. I don’t know.

    Rachel: Since you are never able to get my job description right, I decided to change the jobs.

    John: Wait, what?

    Rachel: I just thought that was easier than trying to correct –

    John: Are you serious?

    Rachel: Yeah, actually, yeah.

    John: Holy cow!

    Rachel: Yeah. Here’s something fun. I thought it would be really cool to take a role in a job that kind of took what I’m passionate about and made it what I do as my job. I had this great opportunity, and so the role is Accountant’s Group Leader Canada for Stage, the Accounting Software Super Giants.

    So, I’m super excited about it. Back on when we did my interview and my podcast, episode 59, which you can find on a greenapplepodcast.com, we talked about how I just love advocating for bookkeepers and accountants and to support them however I can and say just actually giving me the opportunity to do that as a job. So I’m pretty excited about it, and so I mean, you’ll probably mess up that job title, too, but –

    John: Hey, now. Congratulations. That’s so awesome, Rachel. That’s so cool. I’m so excited for you.

    Rachel: Thank you.

    John: Yeah, absolutely. But I did send you an article. That’s kind of what people listen to the Slices for, so I guess we got to talk about this.

    Rachel: You did. You did. Yup.

    John: This week, I found an article on the HR Digest by Anna Verasai. The article’s headlined “A Not to Do List to Cultivate Work Life Balance”.

    Rachel: Sometimes, not to do lists are easier to follow than to do lists.

    John: Oh, totally, and they’re my favorite.

    Rachel: When you’re adding something to do list, you’re like, “Oh, I have to spend extra energy to do that thing.” A not to do list is, “Oh, crap. I really need to stop doing that.”

    John: Yeah, they’re my favorite.

    Rachel: It’s a little easier, John.

    John: Absolutely, because it just looks at the other way around, and then when you look at your to do list, it’s like, “Oh, now I can scratch something off.” So this is even better. But yeah, I mean, I just think it’s really great how in the beginning, she just points out that things that I think we all know, but we don’t always remember. It’s just when your life gets out of balance, it just continues the spiral out of balance in the worst way.

    I mean, to the point of – she even goes into just job exhaustion, loss of family and friends, increase stress. That just physically and psychologically, you’re a wreck. It’s one of those things where it’s a good reminder they’re just come back to balance there. Come back to zero.

    Rachel: I’m so loving these interventions of mine that you post on the internet. I swear, you look at articles – “A not to do list of cultivate work life balance – Rachel.”

    John: It’s pretty much I just Googled “Rachel Fisch”, and these articles actually come up, but I mean, such great examples of things that everyone’s doing. Don’t check your email right before you’re going to bed or while you’re in bed. It’s right there on your smartphone. It pings or the light comes on, and you’re like “Ah, I really need to check this.” And it’s like, no, you don’t. You don’t at all, because it will still be there in the morning. It just talks about just that white light gets your brain circadian rhythm all out of whack.

    Rachel: Yeah, there’s a branch of scientific stuff that goes along with all of that, and then I’m like, “Oh, but I turn my night light on or my iPhone where you can put it into night mode, so then it’s orange light, instead of blue light, so I’m good, right?

    John: Nope. Yeah, but you know, just short sleep leads to depression, and you’re not thinking well, and you’re not as good at your job. I mean, that’s it. “But I read the email last night. I’m such a good employee.” It’s like no, you’re not. You’re actually doing worse for yourself and for your firm.

    The other one was don’t engage in negatively-filled conversations, which is hard. One thing that they did which I thought was nice – the recommendation was just try and spin it, because everybody’s got to vent every once in a while, and you have a close friend at work where you can just unload and be like “Hey, what the hell. This is what’s going on.” The nice thing is to just see how you can spin into a positive of like, well, how would you improve the situation?

    Rachel: Right, or what responsibility might you have in the negative situation that you’re experiencing? So this something that I’ve tried to actively exercise when something is frustrating me or when things are turning negative.

    In some cases, it’s kind of outside of my control and I can’t do much. What I can do is control my reaction to it, but there is always that question, okay, what part have I played in it, and what can I do to change my behavior to try to turn this thing around? So being a little introspective and trying to figure out if you are even sometimes unwittingly kind of propagating the negativity, then you can –

    John: I don’t know what that means, but it sounds good.

    Rachel: But if you’re even unwittingly doing something like that, then what can you do to improve the situation?

    John: Something else that I’ve read up on a lot is just when you start to think about more positive things or happier things or focus on those, then you start to see a lot more of them. Where if you talk about negative things or only see the negative things or the faults, then you’re only going to see those, and you’re just going to see more of those. So, it’s just such a simple thing, but it really is true.

    The other one was just don’t consume media aimlessly. Talks about the news and just all the negative stuff from that, but also just how it’s written and how it’s delivered is in such short sound bites that it actually changes your brain where you lose the ability to absorb lengthy articles or listen to someone speak for a longer period of time or read books, because it’s like, you know, I want it faster and quicker and —

    Rachel: And that small words.

    John: Okay. I’m all for small words, but yeah. The last one, and this is probably the most important one, is don’t stress over low-impact problems. That reminds me of my guess Seth David, who you know.

    Rachel: I do. He’s awesome.

    John: He’s got that phrase, “Spend your attention wisely as if you only have 100 pennies to spend per day.”

    Rachel: So if you have a 100 pennies throughout your day, and these pennies equate to your attention or your cares or whatever it is, then make sure that you’re spending those things in the right place. Also make sure that communicate that, especially if you have staff. If I only have so much attention or if you only have five minutes with me or ten minutes or whatever per day, what are those things that are really crucial that we need to get through, and what are the things that are probably less of an issue that you think they are?

    John: Yeah. So there you go. So check out the article. You can go to greenapplepodcast.com, and there’s a link there. While you’re there, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher, and if you’re listening on one of those, it’d be super cool if you could just leave a quick review. You can reach out to us through there or on Twitter or what have you, so check it out. I look forward to talking to you next week. Thanks, Rachel.

    Rachel: Thanks, John. Talk to you later.

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