The other day I looked into Joe’s eyes, and he looked back into mine, we held the gaze, and I said:
“I just wish I had more hours in the day.”
And Joe replied, “We’ve all been there, Jeff. You’ll get through this.”
Sigh. What a moment.
Joe was helping me get control of my life and ditch productivity hacks because productivity hacks are stupid.
Consider the cautionary tale of Orson Welles, lying in the back of an ambulance careening through the city of New York, sirens blazing, with his wife next to him, holding his hand and counting the minutes.
Would they make it?
Would he make it?
Then they arrived at their destination; Welles lept up and ran into the building to present his next show.
See, hiring the ambulance was a productivity hack; Welles was healthy; he just had no time. He presented multiple live radio shows a day from many points around New York City, and apparently, the traffic was just as bad in the 30s.
So why plod through traffic or rough it underground in the subway when you can commandeer paramedics?
But there is something wrong with having to pretend you are sick so that you can ride in an ambulance to get to your next gig. If you are doing that, use it as a sign that something is broken.
The real problem is working hard on the wrong stuff.
This is what Joe was teaching me.
Step one was to review what I was doing because I was running around like Welles in an ambulance.
But it turned out that I was falling into the shiny thing trap, spending a lot more time on urgent and unimportant work than I had to. In fact, I was busy making irrelevant things urgent and important as a way to procrastinate.
(No, it doesn’t matter that I figure out how to turn off Zappos tracking cookie right now.)
And I wasn’t scheduling my work.
I was reacting. And as a result, I wasn’t getting my real work done.
I hadn’t scheduled my priorities (rocks), so all of the random stuff that came up (sand) was overwhelming me.
So we prioritized my work. We used the Covey Four Square and calendarized it using Sofía’s calendarizing magic.
I was exhausted.
This is hard work.
But is it worth it? We will see, give me a couple of months, and I will let you know.
I can tell you that I am already spending more time with the kids (it is, after all, on my calendar), whether they like it or not (teenagers).
And the quality of my work has improved since being in a constant state of catching up is not an effective way to work.
So: dump the productivity hacks and do this instead:
- Use the covey four-square to prioritize your work.
- Decide your priorities.
- Schedule your priorities on your calendar.
- Live by your calendar.
This will help you get control, get more done, and find more time for yourself.
But I can’t guarantee that you won’t still pine for a couple more hours a day.
Maybe we should look into that. Can we slow the earth’s rotation just a smidge? Surely nothing bad can come of that, right?
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A Conversation About Defining Your Avatar
Not related to time management but a conversation we had last week in Ask Me Anything about attracting more customers.
The problem: no avatar.
Look, if you are selling to “small businesses,” you are selling to nobody. Seriously, nobody. Nobody is a small business. I get it; you are different. But you aren’t.
Everybody struggles with building their avatar and defining a business solution for that avatar.
Still, it is the most crucial step you can take to build the business machine.
Please, define your avatar. Stop wasting your time on stuff that doesn’t matter.
Oh, wait, maybe this does have something to do with time management.
From Around the Web
- ⏲ Pomodoro Method – I actually like this Pomodoro method because it teaches you to focus and get to deep work. The idea is that you set a timer and work in a very focused way until the timer goes off, and then you take a quick break before coming back to it. Want the longer explanation? Read more here.
- 💻 Multiverse Is So Yesterday – with all this talk about multiverses, did you know that Second Life is still around and does $650 million a year in transactions? But it doesn’t scale? Why? Apparently, adults don’t like virtual environments. Hmm. What do you think?