Running vs. Walking

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Like most people, I'm busy. Exceptionally busy.

Building a company from dirt means there's a lot to do. All the time.

My work weeks are Sunday through Saturday. I don't take days off. I haven't taken a "real" vacation in years... and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'm constantly in a faced-paced churn of putting out fires, completing tasks, conducting interviews and more. My calendar has very little white space. Back-to-back-to-back, overlapped and double-booked meetings are the norm.

Despite the jammed-packed schedule, I'm a highly-productive worker.

I know how to get a lot of things done in small windows of time. Time management, prioritization, delegation and saying "no" are my strengths. I know how to execute fast.

But I feel like I'm always running somewhere. Sprinting is probably more accurate.

But I know to be an effective steward of my company and successfully lead us to the "next level", I can't only run. It's crucial I also slow down and walk.

Effective leadership requires we spend extended and uninterrupted periods of time away from the operational urgencies of the business.

We must carve out large chunks of isolated quiet time to read, think, ponder, conceptualize and design the plans and strategies that drive company growth. 

Effective leadership requires we spend extended and uninterrupted periods of time away from the operational urgencies of the business.

Without growth and advancement of vision, over time a team will face stagnation, decreased employee morale, complacency and will miss opportunities. 

As the saying goes, "you're either growing or you're dying." 

Here a few tips on how I make time to slow things down, walk for a bit and focus on nothing else but company vision, strategy and where we're going:

  1. Work weekends -- 6-10am on Saturday and Sundays are ideal for finding time to think and plan. 
  2. Schedule "Strategy Meetings" with myself -- These meetings are usually 2-4 hours long. I put my phone in another room. I close Slack, email and my laptop. I do all work with a pad of paper and pencil. The objective here is to disconnect from your personal digital channels.
  3. Go on personal overnight retreats -- I don't do this nearly as often as I would like, but when I do it's effective. Find a small town within a couple hours of driving distance from home. Arrive early Saturday and leave late Sunday. Find a coffee shop, book store or library to work from. I've found a change in my environment can have a profound impact on productivity.
  4. Buy some high-quality noise cancelling headphones -- These are a must have. If you want to maximize your focus, you have to eliminate distractions. These will help.