My Effin’ Time-Optimized Life

I am a total “fan geek” of the band Rush. Therefore, I was excited to see the lead singer and bass player’s book My Effin’ Life as one of my presents I got to open on Christmas Day (it was at the top of my list). Geddy Lee has always been an amazing musician and I have enjoyed Rush’s music for most of my life.

My Effin’ Life isn’t just a rockstar’s recollection of stadium lights and sold-out tours. It’s also an opening into time optimization, a testament to the countless hours of blood, sweat, and calloused fingers poured into progressive rock musical mastery.

Sure, it is filled with stories about the rock ‘n’ roll way of life that does not fit my value system or lifestyle. However, it is a well-written take on what it takes to succeed in your chosen profession or field. There are principles that aren’t limited to concert halls and recording studios. They translate beautifully to the battlefield we all face daily: time itself.

Lee’s journey begs the question – can we apply his rockstar work ethic (not necessarily the extracurricular activities) to our daily grind, crafting our own “Effin’ Time-Optimized Life”? I think so. The book is filled with a number of principles that can help us all manage our time better.

Lesson 1: Embrace the Grind – There’s No Substitute for Effort

Lee didn’t magically morph into a bass-wielding titan. He practiced for hours on end, and has maintained a curiosity about playing, a level of humility (particularly when he has met his musical idols), and a desire to constantly learn. We might not face blisters while composing emails, but mastering any skill, from cooking to coding, requires similar dedication. Embrace the daily grind, force yourself to deliberately practice, seeing the incremental improvements. It’s consistent effort, not the occasional burst of inspiration, that true progress occurs.

Lesson 2: Find Your Tempo – Prioritize Ruthlessly

Rush wasn’t just a band; it became a finely tuned machine. Lee, along with the other members Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, meticulously prioritized, focusing their collective energy on what mattered most – making music. However, they also took a keen intertest in all aspects of “the business.” Lee did not micromanage but made sure he understood the impact that decision making had on the band. He learned to say no and focused on the things that were important to him.  

Similarly, our lives can be overflowing with to-do lists and distractions.  Ruthless prioritization is crucial. Identify your important activities, the passion that drives you – and ruthlessly eliminate the time-sucking noise. Schedule your non-negotiables and let the rest become secondary. Remember, saying “no” can be as powerful as saying “yes.”

Geddy Lee playing the bass guitar.

Lesson 3: Tools of the Trade – Invest in Productivity

Lee used the best instruments, amps, and effects to shape his sound. We may not need a Fender bass or a custom drum kit, but knowing how to use the right productivity tools can be game-changing. I encourage you to know the ins and outs of your electronic calendar and the task tool that comes along with it. Lee can let his fingers fly up and down the neck, effortlessly moving between the frets on his bass guitar. You should be able to do the same, continuously setting and evaluating your calendar as well as setting, adjusting, and completing your tasks.  

Lesson 4: The Power of Others – Group Time Improvement

The three members of Rush, Lee, Lifeson, and Peart – pushed and challenged each other, their individual strengths creating something far greater than the sum of its parts. We often underestimate the power of inviting others to help us in our time management journey. Find your “bandmates”, your accountability partners, your coaches, your mentors. Share your goals, bounce ideas off them, and invite them to celebrate the wins. Requesting help with your time opportunities allows for greater productivity and enhanced relationships.

Lesson 5: The Encore Never Ends – Continuous Improvement is King

Lee never stopped seeking to improve. From expanding his vocal range to learning new instruments, he embraced a lifetime of learning. In our lives, complacency can become the enemy of time optimization. Challenge yourself to be learning, reading, listening, and pushing your boundaries. Embrace the growth mindset, and remember, the encore never ends. There’s always another song to write, another skill to master, another level to reach.

Applying these lessons won’t turn you into a rockstar, but it can turn your relationship with time into a positive one. It will flip those frustrating minutes into productive hours, those scattered tasks into a progressive song of accomplishment. So, channel your inner Geddy Lee. Embrace the grind, prioritize ruthlessly, invest in your tools, find your bandmates, and never stop learning. This can be your ticket to writing your own “Effin’ Time-Optimized Life.” Now go forth and rock your own existence!

David Buck is the author of the book The Time-Optimized Life, owner of Kairos Management Solutions, LLC, and founder of the Infinity Lifestyle Design program. As a certified professional retirement coach (CPRC), David works with financial services providers helping their clients create a post-career lifestyle strategy. To learn more, contact him at, visit Infinity Lifestyle Design or book a discovery call.

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