Compounding time

Written by Signal vs. Noise / Original link on Nov. 5, 2019

I recently started seeing a new therapist. I’ve seen therapists in the past, so that’s nothing new. What is new is the format.

Everyone I’ve ever seen in the past, and likely the person you’re seeing (if you’re seeing someone), runs appointments the same way: An hour a week (or every few weeks). One hour. 60 minutes. The standard time slot for all sorts of appointments.

But this guy I’m seeing does it differently. I see him once every six weeks for six-hours straight. Yes, a six-hour session. And what a joy it is to work on yourself this way.

An hour is barely enough time to figure out what to talk about. And it’s hardly enough time to go deep on anything of substance. By the time you get somewhere, it’s time to go. Know the drill?

But six hours. Six hours an abundance of time to twist and turn. It takes six hours to dig through the rock and strike the seam. I’m loving it.

Further, six-weeks between appointments gives me time to work on the things we uncovered. A traditional week between appointments just isn’t enough time to put in the practice and get to work. You get sidetracked, other stuff comes up, you end up going to the next appointment in roughly the same place you left the last appointment. But six. Six is bliss.

It’s an entirely different approach, and I find it thoroughly refreshing. Yes, it means he can’t work with as many clients. Yes, it means I have to come out of pocket a lot more. And yes, it means it’s a lot of talking, reflecting, feeling, and questioning. It packs a punch, and my mind is definitely mushier the next day. Not unlike next-day’s lingering muscle soreness after a hard workout. But that’s how you get stronger.

It also reminds me just how powerful contiguous time is. The value of time compounds when hours touch hours. And when you string a bunch together, without interruption, the compounding really pays off. Interest compounds. Wisdom compounds. Time does too.

It’s one of the reasons we’re so adamant about making sure everyone at Basecamp has long stretches of uninterrupted time to themselves. Certainly some work is more staccato than others, but at Basecamp people’s days are theirs. The company doesn’t take people’s time with mandatory meetings or heavy process – the company provides the cover so everyone has their own time to use as they see fit.

There are lots of ways to carve up an hour. 10 x 6. 15 x 4. 30 x 2. 45 + 15. 20 + 20 + 20. The key is not to carve it up. And when you stack it up – one full hour after another – you really see the compound benefits of uninterrupted time.

Note: If this topic appeals to you, we wrote a bunch about the value of time, uninterrupted time, and contiguous time in our latest book “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work“.

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