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The Future Does Not Fit in the Containers of the Past. Edition 168.
Time is the essential asset.
Franz Kafka wrote “The meaning of life is that it stops”.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives wrote Anne Dillard.
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? asked Mary Oliver
Life is a journey through time in search of meaning.
A definition of success is the ability to spend time in the way that gives one joy.
To understand what is important before it is too late.
Successful firms and people use time differently than others.
Three behaviors/beliefs that are common to most successful individuals and firms:
The Power of Compound Interest/Compound Improvement: The most powerful concept in gaining wealth or knowledge is continuous growth over a sustained time period.
See early what others see late: Almost every successful person or company recognized a trend when it was a little stream rather than a gushing river and then committed to align with it.
Persistence: They just keep on going through adversity and setback and they remember Queen Elizabeth the First who said “Time dissolves more problems than man solves”
Five ways to make the most of time.
1. Eliminate: Many people recognizing the limitations of time tend to try to do as much as possible. They multi-task and run around in a frenzy. Usually all they achieve is more multi-tasking and more frenzy. Doing more stuff is not the same as achievement.
Activity is not productivity.
Showing how busy one is does not indicate how important one is. Rather, it might indicate that we have lost control of time and are a slave to our mailbox and have a “Pavlovian” reaction to the chiming insistence of notifications.
2. Focus: The key to doing less is to focus. Here are two filters on how to focus:
a) Comparative Advantage: We should spend our time doing things that we can do better than most people. Some focus areas are easy like being a spouse or a parent, since by definition we should be able to do this better than other folks. However, for many of the errands we run and the assignments we take on at work, it is important to ask if we can outsource or delegate or find a colleague who is better than us so we can focus on what we are best at.
b) Positive Outcome: We should try to choose how we spend our time in ways in which we create a positive outcome. Either we 1) earn a financial reward, 2) learn something new, 3) help someone else or the team get better or 4) the experience in itself feels good.
3. Scale: We can scale ourself and our impact and therefore save time. Two ways to do this is to use "leverage" and "momentum".
Much of what we do as white-collar workers are the 4Cs: create, cogitate, communicate and convince. Basically with a few exceptions our success is based in large part on how we are as sculptors of ideas and points of view.
a) Leverage: Today technology and scheduling allow people to leverage. One can use social media, good writing and speaking skills to reach many people that you need to communicate and convince. One are not limited to small meetings and groups. Today you can move between continents with the flick of a button.
b) Momentum: The trend is our friend. To not waste our time, one needs to understand the underlying trend that is driving our firm or our business and, in most cases align with it. The world is going becoming multi-polar. Marketing is blurring and collapsing with the end of the funnel and with everything becoming multi-media and omni-channel. People, talent and individuals are growing more powerful becoming their own media companies in some cases. Most countries are becoming multi-ethnic and aging fast.
4. Do new things. Tattoo the moment: While the first three behaviors of elimination, focus and scale are logic driven, this one is more emotion based.
In the movie "Into the Wild", there is a line about how the core of existence are new experiences. Often what we remember, and which gives time certain elongation and depth are new experiences. These do not just have to be travels or new relationships and new jobs but could be as simple as walking down a new street, eating at a new place and going to a new cultural event. If there is a way to tattoo the moment into our memory we should try.
5. Give ones time to others: One of the best ways to use your time is to use it not on ourselves but on others. Nothing is as rewarding as helping other people, mentoring younger people, paying attention to those who cannot help or give one much in material or career gain. Try to forget about ourselves in our time equation. It is in the giving and not the getting, in the helping and nurturing, that many people find the deepest joy.
If we respect other people's time. If we give them our attention. If we think not of the lack of time but the beauty of time, we will find that the time we spend is magical.
And in the end, it is the time that we do not measure that is the most meaningful of all.
Photography by Rishad Tobaccowala
Culture Makes Meaning: Why understanding aligning with communities are critical today: On the latest What Next podcast: Marcus Collins, award-winning marketeer and cultural translator, author of the best-selling book ‘For the Culture: the Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do and Who We Want to Be’ and digital strategist for Beyonce on the value in belonging. The former Chief Strategy Officer at Weiden and Kennedy and recipient of Advertising Age's 40 under 40 award who was inducted into the American advertising Federation Advertising Hall of Achievement tells us how the work of philosopher, Emile Durkheim and Beyonce, queen of the Beyhive, have taught him to ditch the trendspotting and tap into the power of organic communities.
Rishad Tobaccowala helps grow companies, teams and leaders by helping them see, think and feel differently. Forty years of experience delivered through writing, speaking and advising in ways that are actionable and inspirational. For more about Rishad Tobaccowala click here.