The last couple of days I had an incident which made me think about the wise words of my friend Rick Schmitz, who keeps asking himself and those around him:
“There is a finite amount of heartbeats you have left. What do you want to use them for?”
As dramatic as this sounds – there is an undeniable truth in his statement. We all spend way too much time with the things which don’t really matter. The tasks which eat up our time but don’t move the needle. The meetings we take out of courtesy. The projects we know don’t go anywhere but we still can’t kill off.
I keep a list of 3-5 ‘big boulders’ I want to move forward at any given time. Projects I am passionate about, which feed my soul and will make a difference. And then I spend at least half my time on these projects.
Make sure that you spend at least half your heartbeats on the stuff that matters to you. Life is too short.
In this regard, I cannot forget to mention how to stay efficient. Because of this,
The New York Times recently tore into the bane of many people’s existence – the (office) meeting. In 2009 Paul Graham (of Y Combinator-fame) wrote an essay about Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule. A manager at Google picked up the topic a few months ago and wrote an open letter to his team (and the world at large).
The overarching message: Meetings are broken.
(5) No Meetings. Meetings come in only two forms: Standing or social. If it’s social, it’s over breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner or drinks. If not – don’t sit down.
How many meetings have you been to recently which you genuinely enjoyed and, probably more importantly, which were outcome-producing, problem-solving, directed and just the right time? I bet you the number is small to zero.
Try to get out of meeting hell by doing one of two things: If it’s business, have as few people as possible in the meeting, have them be well prepared, cut out the fluff and don’t sit down.
That being said – there is a need for social interaction, nurturing relationships and knotting the human fabric. In which case make this clear from the get-go; get some food and/or drinks and kick back.
Time is precious.