Episode 329 – Crazy Busy with Zena Everett

Zena Everett‘[We’re] not actually dropping into the deep flow work and thinking that we have when we write, because that feels wonderful; we’re switching all the time from one thing to another.’

Are you crazy busy? Of course you are. Me too. Rubbish, isn’t it? Stop multitasking (you know it’s not working) and take half an hour to listen to Zena Everett, author of The Crazy Busy Cure, and purveyor of sane, practical advice on how to stop wasting time on stuff that doesn’t really matter and focus on the stuff that does. 

Like writing. 



Zena’s site: https://www.zenaeverett.com/

Zena on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZenaEverett1

Alison on Twitter: https://twitter.com/bookstothesky

The 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge September 2022: https://pi-q.learnworlds.com/course?courseid=proposal-challenge-sep-2022

WriteBrained: A 28-day exploratory writing adventure: https://pi-q.learnworlds.com/course?courseid=writebrainedcourse

The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447064765612358/

The Extraordinary Business Book Club bookshop: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/extraordinarybusinessbooks

Alison Jones: I’m here today with leadership coach and speaker Zena Everett, who’s the author of Mind Flip: Take the fear out of your career and The Crazy Busy Cure, which won the Work and Life Category at the Business Book Awards this year.

Originally a recruitment entrepreneur, Zena sold her business in 2007, then she studied an MSc in Career Management and Coaching. She then took further postgraduate qualifications in Psychological Coaching and Leadership with Neuroscience. And she’s coached on the Executive MBA program at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, and she’s a member of the Associate Faculty at Henley Business School. So first of all, welcome Zena, lovely to have you here.

Zena Everett: Thank you for having me.

Alison Jones: And secondly, congratulations on winning the award. How cool is that?

Zena Everett: Oh, I’m thrilled, thank you. Although, I was preparing for this and thinking, oh, I should do some sort of female imposter syndrome, like little old me, because I have to tell you I was gutted I didn’t win the whole thing.

So I said, I was saying to people, well only won best in class, not best in show.

And because I’m a crazy perfectionist, and I don’t know if this rings any bells, but we don’t want to be perfect. We just think nothing we ever do is good enough. So a kind of bit me went home thinking, oh, I’m going to get some chocolate on the way home to cheer me up.

Alison Jones: Because I’ve failed. I’ve failed here. Isn’t it amazing how we can take the most amazing success and turn it right around.

Zena Everett: I thought, oh, I was at the end thinking, oh yes…

Alison Jones: I’m ready.

Zena Everett: It went to somebody else. Very well deserved anyway.

Alison Jones: I had Patrick Dunne on the podcast last year, he wasn’t so much in that situation, but his mum apparently was furious that he didn’t win the overall award and only won in category, which is hilarious but there you go.

Yes, way to alienate all your fellow shortlisted authors, of course.

Zena Everett: Well, I hope that she wrote a letter.

Alison Jones: I’m sure she did, a strongly worded letter.

Tell us about the night though. How was it? I mean, let’s not talk about so much about when they didn’t call your name at the end, but what about when they did call your name for the category?

Zena Everett: It was great fun and I had published my book during lockdown, so I hadn’t actually met my publishers. So it was really great to meet the people that were so helpful and to, you know, all that kind of stuff. So, yes, it was a really, really good night. I met some lovely people. It was great fun. And yes, it was fantastic actually. I’m delighted, really pleased.

Alison Jones: And now you’re over the disappointment of not winning, nobody can take the whole kind of, you know, award-winning author thing away from you. So that’s nice, isn’t it?

Zena Everett: And it was a proper award, because when I was nominated, some of my friends said, oh right, well, you know, how do we vote? And I said, no, no, it’s not one of those things where I get every, you know, it’s not like getting…

Alison Jones: …you can’t game it, no…

Zena Everett: …can’t game it. Exactly. This is genuine. So yes, what was your question?

Alison Jones: That was it, really. Just wanted to celebrate with you for a moment, because it was marvellous.

But let’s talk about the book itself because I have to say the whole crazy busy thing resonates with me rather more than I care to admit.

So where did the idea for the book come from, for you?

Zena Everett: So I’m a coach, like you said, and I would say to my clients, something sort of nauseatingly coachy like, you know, how’s that laser focus we agreed in the last session? And they’d say, yes, look I don’t do any of that, I’m just playing whackamole all day. Because everybody wants a piece of me and at about four o’clock I think, right, what was I worrying about at 4:00 AM that I wanted to get done today and why haven’t I done it?

And they just kept saying this over and over again. And I thought, gosh, so it’s got to be, you know, you can tick all the boxes, but actually it’s what we pay attention to that makes the difference. And then I realized that, obviously we bring our own kind of perfectionism and tendency to procrastinate that go together and all that kind of stuff and our people pleasing.

But actually there are big systemic problems and I think we have a crushing culture of overwork. And I realize that there are these theories about productivity and organizational drag, where essentially organizations get bloated with excessive collaboration, excessive complexity that just slow the whole workflow down. And it’s a real, real problem.

So I wrote the book for people that are squeezed with all these demands on their time and they go to work to do a really good job. Actually, a lot of what they do is fairly meaningless. Nobody goes to work to do meaningless work, but you know, you think about the amount of to-ing and fro-ing that we have these days to get anything set up, how digitization has layered another layer of kind of crazy busy work on top of the real work.

And it’s fantastic in so many ways, but equally, I mean, how many times have you not being able to get into a document because you can’t work the thing, or you’ve got the wrong version or someone hasn’t sent the password and, you know, just the hassles, the to-ing and fro-ing to set things up because everybody uses their phone for everything apart from phoning each other. And there’s all the multitasking that goes on. You know, how we’re switching from one thing to another, because we’ve got teams and the continuous interruption. So I really got fascinated by this and I wanted to kind of write a book that was pacey and easy to read because I read, and you’ll know this better than me, that I read somewhere that people don’t often get to the end of a business book, do they? I don’t know how far do they get, is it two thirds?

Alison Jones: If that. Yes, I remember talking to somebody who had a platform of ebooks and they were looking at the business books and the completion rate was one of the lowest, but the satisfaction rate was one of the highest, interestingly.

Zena Everett: Ah, well, maybe they get the message early on. Actually that could be it. But I thought, no, I really want to write a book that is actually pacey, fun to read, like feels like an entertaining read, that actually helps people. And so the award means a lot, because it makes me feel like actually a writer. So I put that at the start of the LinkedIn profile. It’s my second book, but actually the reviews mean a huge amount, don’t they? When somebody gives you a nice review and a few people have said, I’ve read this twice or I’ve read it and then I downloaded it and then you think, okay, right, I’m really pleased with that.

Alison Jones: That is great and I quite often encourage people to actually say, you know, if somebody were to leave a review, your dream review, what would they be saying? Because that can really help focus your mind on what impact you want to make, which is useful.

But there is a kind of paradox baked into this, isn’t it? You want to write a book for people who are kind of too busy to read a book. So it’s interesting that you took that angle on it. I must say as well, and I know I shared this with you earlier, you have a lovely sort of list, a diagnostic list at top, and the very last item is, ‘Did you skim this list like you skim everything?’ So I paid attention after that and I sat up.

Zena Everett: Yes, but you know, I often do these crazy busy sessions in organizations, and I often say to people, if you had an extra hour, what would you do? Well, there you go Alison, if you had an extra hour, what would you do?

Alison Jones: So it’s really interesting you asked that actually, because we had this as a session at the virtual campfire that we run every week, the other day, and we were all going, oh, and if I had an hour, can you imagine, I’d do this, and you face that kind of inescapable, wait a minute, why am I not just doing this? Why am I doing all the other stuff and not doing this, which I have just identified as being super important? So, yes.

Zena Everett: Yes I know. And many people just say actually the basics, sleep, exercise, walk and read a book and, you know, these are things kind of right in our DNA. That’s all the crazy busyness. They are not, you know, they’re not wild demands on our time. So, and I feel that people are working longer and longer hours, they’re cannibalizing into their own personal time.

 And what we know, the research tells us is that people are getting their work done, but they’ve got this continuous low level of anxiety because they’re not actually dropping into deep flow work and thinking, that we have when we write, because that feels wonderful, but we’re switching all the time from one thing to another.

Alison Jones: And it’s interesting what you were saying about the hoops that we kind of put for ourselves as well, because I think one of the issues with work in the 21st century is that so much of it is, in a sense the stuff we really want to get done is invisible. And the stuff that we end up spending our time doing is visible and people can see that we’re responding to them. And there’s almost a bit of guilt involved in doing the stuff that nobody can see that you are working. You know, thinking looks so much like staring out the window sometimes, and there’s a sort of cultural, there was an issue with that isn’t there, in the workplace.

Zena Everett: Yes, well there is, but actually most of us are knowledge workers who are paid to think. I wrote my book for people who work in offices. So they’re, you know, they spend the majority of their time on admin, but they should be spending it on strategy. But most of the tasks that we do take minutes. A lot of the stuff we do takes about five minutes, if you time it. But where the real value comes in is when we’re thinking, you know, we’re looking out the window and thinking: what’s going to derail me? How do I punch above my weight? Where do I add the most value? Who’s got the problems, who should I be checking up on? You know, what’s my gut telling me? All this kind of stuff. But we’re not, we’re just responding to emails. 300 billion emails are sent every single day around the world.

Alison Jones: And they’re all coming into my inbox. I think

Zena Everett: Everyone says that, most of them come to me.

Alison Jones: And…

Zena Everett: They say, oh, thanks very much for that. And they go, no, no, thank you.

Alison Jones: …and that sense of one part of the value of coaching, I always think, is not so much anything that you particularly bring to it, it’s just that you create the space for people to actually do that type of thinking, isn’t it?

Zena Everett: Yes, you do because there isn’t enough time to think. Because we’re crazy busy. But it’s a default thing, isn’t it? And I think we’re, you know, if we have an empty day at the weekend, I think now we’re hardwired to think, right well, I’ll do this and I’ll do that. I mean, we’re not used to a patch of time because, you know, we default to fill it.

And that’s what technology is for. It’s very easy just to fill our time, not to actually go and think.

Alison Jones: I’m interested. Do you take your own advice? Do you catch yourself doing any of the things that you warn people against in your book?

Zena Everett: Really unfair question.

Alison Jones: I know, but just make us feel better.

Zena Everett: I can faff around. What I’ve realized is that I’ve got to go somewhere, to different places to do different things. So if I’m at the place where I just send emails and faff and do invoicing and all that kind of stuff, then I find it really difficult to do some deep work.

And yes, I can really faff. My big guilty pleasure, I’ve come off Facebook, so I think I mentioned in the book, which I’d like to say is because of the damage it does to global parliamentary democracy, but just, I was wasting too much time stalking ex-es on there. But I can waste time on Instagram and I don’t go on LinkedIn so much anymore because it’s just so full of nonsense.

But you have to, you do, I’m freelance, I’ve got to put the odd thing on there, but I’m not liking and sharing a lot, but I can really lose time on Instagram. And the research tells us, but like most research, you know our grannys could have told us, that when we have a message on our phone, you know, somebody WhatsApps you, you stop what you’re doing, but you do two other things before you go back to the piece of work that you’re doing, because the phones, I’m pointing at mine, because of course it’s here look, it shouldn’t be, switched off, but it’s here. I have got most of my notifications off it though, but we do two other things before we go back to what we should be doing because the technology, those bright tech minds are just keeping us on their apps all day. And there’s so many compelling news feeds and things.

So I do know if my phone is being charged up in a different room, that makes a big difference, you know. And they say you can have a reduction in cognitive capacity even by having your phone next to you, regardless of whether it switched off or you are looking at it. I mean, think about that effect on our teenagers.

You know, that is quite frightening.

Alison Jones: It is absolutely terrifying. I think as well though there’s a sort of external dimension, there’s how we manage all this stuff. And particularly the technology, which you go into in some really practical tips in the book, about, you know, it’s stuff we kind of know, but there’s some really useful strategies there about prioritizing and blocking things out.

And then there’s also, I think, an internal thing, which is almost that we are, maybe this is just me. I sometimes go looking for distractions because I’m scared of the big work in front of me. And so, you know, how Coleridge had his person from Porlock that came along and interrupted in the middle Kubla Khan… I remember Stevie Smith’s poem, you know, I’m desperate for the person from Porlock. I look at him as a friend, you know, where are you? Come on, come on, interrupt me. This is really hard. And I think there is an element of that as well, is that it’s easy for us to go looking for distractions up against the discomfort of uncertainty, of hard work, of not knowing the right answer.

Zena Everett: Yes, so how do you get around that?

Alison Jones: Oh, that’s a really unfair question. Touché. Well, my phone actually is charging in another room which is more due to the fact that need charging than anything, I’ll be honest. And I block out my mornings, my mornings are my ‘nobody else time’. So I do some free writing. I do my run, I do my free write and I do a quick What’s ahead of me kind of, you know, what do I need to get done if nothing else today kind of thing.

So my mornings are good, after that it all goes downhill very badly, but at least the mornings are good.

Zena Everett: Yes, and that’s probably when your mind is sharpest is it? I think for many of us.

Alison Jones: Absolutely. If it’s not done by four o’clock in the afternoon, it isn’t going to get done. Or if it’s going to get done, it’s going to be really poor.

Zena Everett: Yes, yes, yes, but I think those of us in corporate life though, really struggle because they have so many meetings. I mean, I’ve got clients that literally just ping from one meeting to another, and then they have no time. They look at their notes and they think, well, when am I actually supposed to do the work created in the meetings?

Alison Jones: I don’t miss that about corporate life. I have got to say.

Zena Everett: No, there’s this real pervasive meeting culture. And it makes me laugh because, if you remember when you were in that world and you’d send someone to a meeting instead, they’d have to sit in a room for a couple of hours. And then when you said, okay, well, what happened in that meeting? They’d brief you in about two minutes, wouldn’t they? Tops. Oh yes, yes, well, this, this, this, you think right, OK. Thank goodness.

But what I find is that the managers particularly that I work with, they spend their life in meetings and they say that was pointless, I don’t know why I was there. So they’ll waste all that time, but they haven’t got 10 minutes to say, how’s it going, Alison, everything alright? You know, I love the way you did that. What’s working well, what’s on your mind? They don’t have time for any of the really important stuff. They just waste these great turfs of time. So when I work with businesses, I make them… they hate me, but I make them limit the amount of hours people can spend in meetings in a week.

And I make them say, right, if we’re launching a new project, we have to replace meetings. We’re not adding to your meeting schedule. You’ve got to take one off. And that makes them really think about it and to also run their meetings much more effectively. And there are so many ways now.

I mean, you don’t need to all sit in a meeting room if something’s just an FYI, you know, that can be sent as a voice note. You don’t need to get people all to stop work at the same time.

Alison Jones: And they don’t have to be set to start and end on the hour either. I mean, what’s that all about?

Zena Everett: They don’t. No, but we’ve got to get over and it’s guilt, like you mentioned, I think this whole idea that we need to work synchronously with other people. Well, we don’t actually, when do you ever sign up to being available to everybody at all times? So,

Alison Jones: So true and I could rant about corporate culture and the things that I do that are rubbish about timekeeping and getting more hints from you and I’m kind of tempted to do that, but I’m not.

I’m going to talk about writing as well, because people are going to want to know Zena, how do you write your books and what do you enjoy? What did you find surprising? What do you find hard? How do you do it?

Zena Everett: Yes, okay, good. Well, I was thinking about this and, like, how not to do it I think actually. So this is my second book. And if I do another one, I’m probably going to be much more structured and map it all out with post-it notes and things and do it properly. But I think that I was just lucky, I had really great editors who just knocked it into shape and moved it all, moved them both all around for me, and I was thinking, the obvious thing everybody says don’t they, if you want to write, you’ve got to write.

What worked for me frankly, is taking advantage of kind cafe owners.

Alison Jones: This is part of the getting away from where you normally faff around and do your invoicing, to write, right?

Zena Everett: Yes, if I go somewhere to do something, then I get into flow. So, and it can be quite a noisy environment actually, but if I just go somewhere to take my laptop and I think right, I’m going to write that thing. So I don’t necessarily plan in time. I don’t think I’m going to write for an hour, I think I’m going to write that piece.

So even if it’s, you know, one page, that’s what I’m going there for. And if I do any more than that, that’s a bonus. So I don’t put pressure on myself, you know, to make it a chore. It’s enjoyable. But the one thing I’ve realized is that I can spend so much time wiping imaginary smudges off walls and, you know, cleaning windows and things and, you know, it’s hard stuff.

Alison Jones: Displacement activity is, I’ve never been so productive as when I’m not writing and madly trying to fill the time that I should be writing with something that I can point to and say, look, I did this.

Zena Everett: Yes, yes, yes. So I think that’s it, just going to a cafe and then when they say, shall I heat that coffee up for you? That’s not fair actually, because I often would end up say buying a meal I haven’t had, just because I’ve used their room as an office. So I haven’t completely taken advantage, but that’s what I’d say, go somewhere with your laptop, buy a cup of coffee and it will come and don’t beat yourself up, and actually the journey there, your subconscious brain is ticking it over anyway. So that’s where the, the ideas don’t come staring at screens.

Alison Jones: And there’s, I don’t know if you’re an extrovert, I’m guessing you probably are. I…

Zena Everett: …well…

Alison Jones: … I mean, we’re always on the spectrum…

Zena Everett: …yeah…

Alison Jones: …but I find that the kind of white noise of humans around me, it’s not comforting, that’s the wrong word, but it’s helpful. Oddly.

Zena Everett: Yes, no, it is. It depends which humans, if they’re saying ‘mum’, so then that’s not so… yes.

Alison Jones: Small humans can be less helpful. Gentle clinking of crockery and hushed voices, that’s, I find that very helpful.

Zena Everett: Well, it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because I think that’s the whole idea of getting into flow, which I write in the book. But I think if I go somewhere specifically to do something, that’s the only way it really happens. So that’s what works for me.

Alison Jones: And this is your tip for authors, I’m guessing, this is what you’d say if I was to say, you know, what would you tell a first time author to do?

Zena Everett: Yes, I think so. I mean, I’m sure everybody that comes on here says, look if you want to be a writer, then you’ve got to, you’ve got to write.

Alison Jones: We have had that a couple of times. I mean, it’s, kind of, you know, it’s writing 101, isn’t it? You aren’t going to go anywhere unless you actually get your bum on the seat and start writing.

Zena Everett: Yes, yes, and don’t worry about, it’s much easier to edit than it is to originate. So I think just write don’t worry about it. Just try and get something down and then you can finesse it and finesse it to your heart’s content. There’s also something about that kind of faffing to get ready, isn’t there?

So when you’ve got something to do, we spend a lot of time finessing rather than just starting it. But I think equally people say, you know, for any big piece of work, they say, look, I need to start it, but it’s so big, I haven’t got time to start it. Because I think actually you need to go somewhere for 45 minutes and set a timer if that helps, your phone. So you don’t lose, you know, miss out on stuff.

But actually just go and figure out how to start something. You know, what does it look like? What are the resources you need? Who’s done it before? Where can you get support? All those kinds of things. So I think that… don’t put pressure on yourself to start something, but actually some real structured thinking about it. You can do that. And that starts the process going.

Alison Jones: That’s a great tip almost for any big project, isn’t it, that it feels overwhelming. Almost taking time not to do it, but to think about how you’re going to do it. Meta work.

Zena Everett: Yes, exactly. And then I think also like time management 101, is if it’s not scheduled, it doesn’t happen. So there has to be a plan. Like you say, my mornings, this is what it looks like. And I think we have to be a bit old school and just, you know, not wait for the muse to come, because it doesn’t, I think, okay I’m going to do that on these times and be quite disciplined in it.

So I, oh, I’m not even going to tell you my boring routine. Should I just…?

Alison Jones: Yes, we want to hear your boring routine. It’ll make all of us feel better. Go.

Zena Everett: Couple days a week I do pilates and I drop my son off and I’ve got a good 90 minutes before that class. And that’s mostly when I wrote my book, in those 90 minutes.

And then I wrote some other bits in between with a couple of coffees, yes. And then I do pilates and I come back and then I think actually I better earn a living here and I find it doesn’t always work like that. But if I can do that two or three times a week, then you think, gosh, I’m really winning at life here, but I was very specific and I wouldn’t take other stuff with me to the cafe.

And I’d also check my emails before, but I wouldn’t then, you know, I wouldn’t try and do something else because then the time just goes. So I think there has to be some structure and a prompt. So you are removing options. You don’t have a choice of things to do. You’ve just got to do it.

Alison Jones: Yes, and it, I mean, it’s foundational, isn’t it? And it’s such a key point because actually you will never have two hours of clear time in which to write your book, unless you plan for them, it’s never going to happen. Yes.

Zena Everett: No, but you can get a lot done in 40 minutes. You can get a lot done in half an hour. I know somebody who’s written a really great piece of fiction that’s been in the best sellers. And she used to write a little bit every evening on her phone, which then on Google docs or something went into a main document. And then that’s where she’d write. And then she’d edit it when she had more time. But she made herself write 10 -15 minutes every day and it’s cumulative.

And I think we actually underestimate how much editors do, you know, we feel again, the whole perfect thing…

Alison Jones: I don’t!

Zena Everett: Well ok, but I think, you know, we’re not handing over some sort of finished job, you know, you’ve just got to get something down and they’ll find the nuggets, won’t they?

Alison Jones: Yes, absolutely. yes, development editors are an absolute gift and absolutely use them. Brilliant.

So I always ask my authors, my authors! I always ask my guests as well to recommend a business book now, obviously Crazy Busy Cure, yes, genuinely, everybody should read it, but is there another one that you’d like to recommend for us that you found particularly helpful?

Zena Everett: Well, look, I also have a color coded library books in my office, which is a great distraction.

Alison Jones: Displacement activity 101.

Zena Everett: Had I a look through them, and actually one of the authors I recommend a lot is somebody called Alan Weiss, W E I S S.

Alison Jones: Yes, been on this podcast in fact.

Zena Everett: Oh, right. Okay. He’s great. Isn’t he?

Alison Jones: Yes, he’s fantastic.

Zena Everett: He doesn’t…

Alison Jones: Be more Alan was kind of my mantra for weeks and weeks afterwards.

Zena Everett: Oh, my goodness. Right? Well, there you go. Okay. I love him. And he very kindly read a proof of my manuscript and gave me a, he and Marshall Goldsmith gave me endorsements and Peter Brigman, who I’m really influenced by as well. But I love Alan’s work because I went from, you know, well, I sell my time and that’s really hard because people, you charge by the hour, that sounds really rude, but you know what I mean?

It’s like not anything that, I’m far too old for and not very good at. And Alan says, don’t, you know, why are you selling by the time? That is ridiculous. So he was a big influence on me. So I loved his book, a Million Dollar Consulting Practice. I so do not have a million dollar consulting practice, but nevertheless, and then I also read his book Money Talks and it really made me, it really made me raise my game actually. And I had, gosh, you are very good at getting me to rant and telling my deepest…

Alison Jones: You’re welcome.

Zena Everett: …my deepest, embarrassing situations. I let a client really push me down on rates recently. And, you know, we all have these great ideas, don’t you, but you happen to agree to something because the next month looks a bit quiet and you think, oh right. Okay.

 And then sooner or later, of course there was a load of work, they were really difficult, loads of briefing, loads of change, all the normal stuff. 80/ 20 really, like I write the book on this stuff. How this over servicing is another cause of crazy busyness. Anyway, of course, sure enough, they cancelled about a week before and which I, you know, I could have predicted and I thought, God, Alan Weiss says, you know, Be More Alan doesn’t he? He says, if you charge enough, the CEO of the business will be putting the chairs out and making sure there are people there to listen to your talk. You know?

So I just thought, gosh. yes, well, there you go. I need to read it again and I’ve read all his books a couple of times. So yes, so Alan. Love him. Doesn’t, doesn’t faff around.

When he endorsement for my book, he said, this needs to go on the cover only

Alison Jones: He’s brilliant. Fantastic. yes, it’s a great recommendation and, I don’t know, well let’s not get into the whole, you know, gender thing, but I do think there is something about how we sell and how he just owns his space and owns his value doesn’t have a problem with it.

Zena Everett: Yes, yes, yes, no, well, as I get a funny age, I’m getting, I think I’m getting, my hormones are morphing into Alan. Sure, I mean, my pet bugbear there are all these sessions for women on imposter syndrome. You think men don’t suffer with imposter syndrome? I think if a client of mine is saying, oh, I’m feeling a bit imposter syndrome.

I said, well, that’s great. That just shows you you’re doing something that’s new and scary and brilliant. Get on with it, but that’s your, that’s inter-reception, that fifth sense, telling you you really need to prepare for this. So what’s wrong with it, but they’re all that fluffy stuff about, oh no, don’t do it. It’s all a bit…. like, I get really annoyed with that.

Whereas I am constantly, I worked with this women’s group yesterday at a university, and I was just saying to them, you know, if you’re a man, how would you spend your time? What would you focus on? And they’d be like, oh my God, well, I’d stop doing that straight away. And I’d do this and think, okay.

So yes, we all need to be more Alan.

Alison Jones: That’s so interesting. Isn’t it. We immediately know what we would do if we didn’t…

Zena Everett: Yes, and I hate to gender stereotype, but I do get a bit, there are so many of those books, aren’t there, for women where it…

Alison Jones: …and I think that actually men do have imposter syndrome, but I think that that’s lovely reframing it as, what does Steven Pressfield call it, Resistance, doesn’t he? It’s the sense of discomfort that tells you you’re onto something really important?

Zena Everett: Absolutely. That’s great. I wrote in my, in The Crazy Busy Cure, when I was little, I was a Brownie in Ireland where I went to school and they used to say to us a good brownie would do all these jobs, but you mustn’t tell anybody, you know, don’t tell anybody, just do it and that’s the right kind of way to behave.

You think, you know, what? and then you go into work, that’s really not going to get you anywhere.

Alison Jones: It’s not going to get you the raise, is it? It’s not going to get you the corner office.

Zena Everett: It’s not going to get you the corner office.

And I have this conversation with women who have internalized that unwittingly and they don’t manage stakeholders. So they’re doing these great jobs when they’re just hoping somebody notices. And whereas men are much better at getting buy in, bringing people with them and all those kinds of things.

Because they don’t have those kind of rubbish messages about being good and being quiet and the rewards will come.

Alison Jones: It’s a whole new podcast here. yes.

Zena Everett: How did we get into that?

Alison Jones: I don’t know but it was very, very high quality stuff. Thank you.

But we’re going to have to finish unfortunately because I’ve got an eye on the time.

So Zena, if people want to find out more about you, more about Crazy Busy Cure and your other books and the work that you do, where should they go?

Zena Everett: Well, I’m all over it. So please connect on LinkedIn. There’s my website, zenaeverett.com. And I do send out one monthly mailer. So if anybody wants to sign up for that on my website or just email me and I’ll add you to MailChimp. That would be great. I’m on Instagram and Twitter, but I don’t want to encourage people to go onto social media. it’s not exactly…

Alison Jones: Yes.

Yes, and it’s Zena with a Z, as you always have to explain to the coffee people. Right?

Zena Everett: Yes. Oh yes, exactly. Oh, don’t, yes.

Alison Jones: Brilliant. What a joy to talk to you. Thank you so much. I think we’ve covered so much ground there. It was absolutely brilliant, but thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.