Where does the time go?

Weekly report # 4 and I am increasingly puzzled as to where all the time is going.

I started keeping the Toggl reports a month ago and logged a respectable 80 hours/week the first two weeks. And then it slid to 60 or so. At least my learning hours are increasing. I still work all the time (there are so many cool things to do and try!), but where is the time going?

Here are some conjectures:

  1. Transitions: I remember reading somewhere that a lot of time gets wasted transitioning from one activity to another. The past two weeks I have had more meetings and maybe that is where the leak is.
  2. Tennis: I also started playing tennis twice a week. This week I will try to throw in a few runs as well. I am in this for the long haul, so might as well stay healthy!
  3. Cooking: I am finally tired of frozen dinners (3 months of FFF or focused frozen-food eating). So we made a salad this week and one rice and beans.

On a related note, I would LOVE to know how intense CEOs like Howard Schultz, Wendy Kopp and the like manage their time. I know they run (or did when they wrote their memoirs) and have families and they must eat. So how do they manage?

Do you think like a CEO?

I have been toying with the concept of “employee ownership” for a very long time and here are some thoughts. By now I have had more than 300 meetings with a variety of people and organizations and have seen some recurring things:

  1. People tend to be overly cautious when making decisions. In almost every case they will say that the higher-ups know the bigger picture and they need to consult with them first.
  2. Job descriptions can be good, but they can also become very effective blinders. People have a clear page of text to fall back on and say, “Look! This is not my job. That is taken care of or should be taken care of by xyz.”

Here is what I would say to each of them:

YOU know essentially all the details that anyone would need to know to make the decision. It is all about ownership and true courage. Think as if you owned the company. Care about it as deeply as the owner does. Then you will go the extra mile to research, learn more, explore partnerships, put in the crazy hours, suggest improvements, make the company grow and be super successful.
If the company is on the path to greatness then the administration is sure to be supportive of such initiative and guts. You are bound to make some mistakes, but both you and the company will learn way more than if you hadn’t ventured out at all.

Such thinking will save everyone a lot of time. If you complain about bureaucracy, make sure you are not contributing to the problem!

Two of my heroes are Winston Churchill and Van Gogh. Both epitomize courage, drive and fire. There is an awesome set of tapes by Prof. Fears on Churchill that I love and the best book on Van Gogh is a set of his letters edited by Auden. Read them and change the world!

“You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” — Erich Fromm