Hours Cannot Define Success

The public cares little about how long Olympians train or how many practices football teams suffer before playing a game; the public cares about gold medals and victories. Big wins define success. Many successful companies grew by the hand of all-nighters and sweat, others by beer and four-day work weeks. What matters at the end of the day is attitude, strategy and inspiration. With a team on the same page and in good mental health, the engine can plow forward full steam ahead. Through calculated innovation and disruption, an organization can leapfrog the competition overnight. If everyone believes in what they are doing and work hard to make a difference, anything is possible. Long work days are symptomatic of success and passion – hardly ever the source. Man hours do not scale an organization – that’s industrial era nonsense. Asking your people to work longer days will not shovel fresh coal into the fire. The message should be: care more. If your team does not inherently care a lot, then find different ways to get them charged. Set the vision. Plaster a mission statement to the wall. Whatever it takes to remind everyone why they wake up everyday and come together.

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Burning The Midnight Oil

Sometimes you’ve just gotta do it. If you aspire to work hard, make a difference and get the job done, it takes sacrifices. Not all the time, of course, because that’s not sustainable. But every once in a while, all-nighters, hundred-hour weeks and late Fridays do the trick. If you are able to crumple up your to-do list at the end of the night and call it an accomplished day, very little feels better. Crumpled paper, a glass of wine and a sigh of relief. That’s the stuff.

With that, I’m leaving the office. Fifteen hour day. Suck it.

Time

No, you can’t have anymore of it – no matter how hard you ask or whine. All you can do is make the best with the time you have. Spend less worrying about time and more on making decisions. Do not be afraid to take action on a whim. Sometimes the most spontaneous and uninformed choices can make the biggest impact on your life. Don’t fight time or dread it – spend it efficiently and wisely.

Wait

I spent my early years looking forward to summer breaks, movie releases, Christmas and vacations. I would wish my life away until the events came. Sometimes, my wish would come true and time would blow by. Other times, the waiting period would drag on and time would turn into my enemy. The older I get, the more I appreciate how finite time is. I don’t like wishing my life away anymore – it already moves too fast as it is. Before we know it, we’re all old and wishing for time to slow down. Wait for things you can’t wait for. Enjoy time while you’ve got it.

Sitting on a puzzle you can’t solve? Sometimes all you can do is wait it out and take a stab at it later. Passing time builds perspective. Wait a week and look at the puzzle again – perhaps by then you’ll have the experience and fresh eyes to solve the problem. They say patience is a virtue and time heals all wounds. I think both patience and time are valuable resources that, if budgeted correctly, can enable a fruitful, productive and fulfilling life.

Scheduling Love

Busy people often struggle to make ends meet with their loved ones. Life gets out of hand. Before you know it, you miss every meal with him or her and spend no time together except asleep at night. If left unchecked, this can tax your relationship to a bitter end.

If your relationship is truly important to you, you must carve out sacred time for it. One of my teachers in Hollywood, Bruce Botnick, upholds a rare feat in the entertainment industry: he and his wife have been happily married for 43 years. Beyond a pact to stay the uncompromising individuals they each fell in love with in the beginning, a large part of their success as a couple comes from sacred time together. To this day, they still go on dates and get to know each other. Bruce’s stories are a charm to hear – and he spouts them like a giddy schoolboy. A man in true love.

Spending time together is one of the keys to keeping a union healthy. Many forget or neglect it, especially couples that have been together forever. As unromantic as it sounds, you must schedule time for love. Make those blocks of time sacred and let no one take them away.

Meet the Better Day

Waking up early has advantages. First and foremost, rising early awards you the time to prepare for your day rather than straggle to work or school having dragged yourself out of bed. A leisurely pace in the morning is much healthier and less stressful than a race against truancy. You can make yourself breakfast (the most important meal of the day) and squeeze in some exercise. You have time to get extra work done (like posting to your blog) and enjoy peace & quiet enough to do it. If you get out of the house early, you can beat the rush and save even more time getting to and from. Charged with all of these benefits, you are better-equipped to have a better day.

Don’t Censor Yourself

Let the words flow. If you have something you’d like to say, say it. Do not be afraid what other people will think. Permit yourself to say something wrong. Stay open to criticism and feedback – it’s the only way to refine your voice and position against millions of other voices.

When I started this blog, posts took around an hour per day. I was afraid what people might think, so I spent a lot of time on them. A year later, I care less about the craft of my posts and more about the ideas I want to communicate. Now, with a few exceptions, posts take me no more than 20 minutes per day. As soon as I surrendered my preoccupation with perfect writing, the thoughts flowed more freely, and it demanded far less of my time.

Censoring yourself not only compromises your character, it can compromise your time. Do not fail yourself or your ideas with perfectionism. Spit it out, fool.

[Post time: 3 minutes]