How do you do so much?
I usually write about business agility, but in the last couple of days I’ve had 3 separate people ask me the same question. “How do you do so much?” - referring in large part to the fact that I’m organising a conference, writing a book, mentoring startups, transforming IBM and raising a family. So, with apologies to Douglas Adams and Lewis Carroll, I thought I would take the opportunity to describe the 6 impossible things I do before breakfast everyday (well, most days).
- Reduce my email to zero: A lot has been written about Inbox Zero and I won’t repeat what’s already out there. But each morning, I go through my work, personal and LinkedIn email accounts and clear the inbox. Google Inbox helps a lot there, especially with the ability to snooze emails.
- Reconnect with at least 3 friends: I know a lot of people who treat LinkedIn like Pokemon Go - gotta catch them all. On the other-hand, I think that my professional (and personal) relationships have value, so I make sure I reach out to at least 3 people every day who I haven’t spoken with for a while - just to say hi and see what they’re doing.
- Thank people from yesterday: Depending on how yesterday went, I’ll send out thank you’s to people I’ve worked with. It might be a simple thank you for having a meeting with me, or a thank you for helping me out. I find it helps reinforce promises and “actions” that I have taken on, and stops me from getting too wrapped up in my own stuff.
- Practice drawing: I truly believe that you need to be a beginner at something at all stages of your life. For me, this year, I have started to teach myself drawing and visual facilitation. I used to be one of those people who thought they couldn’t draw. However, 9 months in and I’m not ashamed to draw in public so something must be working.
- Conference: The final two are topics and activities that I’m passionate about. The first of these is organising the Business Agility 2017 conference. If you read my blog, this shouldn’t be a surprise to you. I always make sure to spend at least 30 minutes every morning on this (and because it’s in NYC and I’m in Singapore, usually an hour after 9pm as well).
- Write: The second of my personal activities is my book on #noprojects. My goal is to write and/or edit 500 words per day. I’ll be honest and say that I rarely meet that goal, but my co-author and I are up to 20k words, so we’re not doing too badly.
My tool of choice is Toodledo. I use a combination of recurring tasks and their habit tracker to embed these behaviours. The only behaviour that’s missing is exercise - I wish I could say that I do that every morning as well, but I still haven’t figured out how to include that in my routine. But I’m working in it.
While none of these may be truly impossible (and I don’t always do it before breakfast), by keeping my WIP in check and making sure I turn each of these into a habit, I have become a lot more productive.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Milliway’s for breakfast.