Four months ago, we got word that my brother-in-law and his family were coming from Israel for a visit.
They were planning to stay with us on the 4th and 5th of August.
I didn’t even have to ask…the message was obvious. Do NOT schedule anything for those 2 days.
So, I didn’t.
Now, you know that I am a big scheduler, you know that.
In fact, one of the most valuable skills I have picked up was the idea that “for every task you have on your list, you MUST put it down at a specific time on your calendar when you will do it.”
Without the time commitment, the task is meaningless.
So, I do that, relentlessly.
And, then, I use my Outlook Calendar kind of like a chessboard, constantly moving slots of time around to optimally and most strategically do the right thing at the right time.
So, here I am with 2 open days and everything scheduled before and after that….until we get word, late on August 3rd that, for a variety of reasons, they aren’t coming to us (they made it to the US, but not to DC).
Now, I wake up on August 4th in the morning and have a totally free day in front of me.
What’s more, my in-laws are here (as they were planning on spending time with my brother-in-law and his family as well as us). Plus, the NFO and our Nannie.
It’s like a perfect storm of “you can pretty much do whatever you want to do today and there are 4 other adults who are in front of you in priority for taking care of the kids.” [the NFO may not have seen it that way, but let’s just go with it, shall we?]
(Now, I’ve hopefully demonstrated that I do love my kids and I do love spending time with them, so it’s not like I don’t want to, but compared to grandparents, I lose every time and, well Sun Tzu would tell you to not even fight that battle.)
The stage is set. It’s like I just won the Time Lottery. There’s a total tabula rasa in front of me and it’s an opportunity.
Chill out or, double down.
The company, the mindset, the mantra is what?
Say it with me.
So, I look out at the next few MONTHS worth of client commitments and I start asking myself: “What can I do today so that I have more flexibility to deal with the future unknown AND feel less stress at the same time?”
Once I did that, I made a prioritized list of things and just attacked it like a Pit Bull.
- I have insomnia about innovation and was able to spend 90 minutes driving a project that is a huge potential innovation. Even if it fails, I tried, and that’s the point. I was able to give it the attention it deserves…which is of strategic important in the long-term.
- prepared for a client presentation/workshop on August 29th
(I’ll touch it up the day before, but the heavy lifting is over)
- prepared for a presentation on August 24th.
- prepared for a presentation on Sept. 14th
- worked out…twice
- prepared for a presentation on Nov. 10th
- wrote 9 blog posts and pre-published them
- answered a 6 part Q&A via email for a feature in a magazine
- sent a proposal to a potential client (it was tricky as it has an equity component)
- watched a few videos that I had queued up (all marketing related)
- called a few folks for their birthday
- participated in a few Facebook conversations (like this one) and commented on a few blogs
- outsourced a TON of stuff to Mary (my admin) in terms of travel plans, calls, etc.
- and, frankly, there are a few small odds/ends that I have probably forgotten.
What’s more, on top of that, I spent 2 hours in the evening, playing with the kids, reading with them, and clowning around.
Look, I love what I do, so it doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun and when I get to see things come together, it’s a huge adrenaline rush.
I feel like I have to defend myself, I’m not sure why.
Seriously, I didn’t want to go to bed…so I just kept going…until 2am. I felt like Rocky climbing the steps in Philly.
When all was said and done, I said, “this may have been the most productive day in my life. A 100 year storm.”
Of course, when I posted that on Facebook, a few people challenged me (rightfully-see below or here'), so I’ll modify it to say “most productive work day ever.”
Still, it felt good.
I felt a *little* guilty that this came at the expense of time with my brother-in-law, but as the NFO wisely pointed out, “it’s not like you told them not to come…you just took advantage of the fact that they didn’t.”
Ok, good, I’m over that.
Chalk this one up.