Own Your Time

“We spend 2/3 of time answering email, going to meetings and doing our job. Our competition has figured out that they need to spend time doing remarkable art.” –Seth Godin, Medicine Ball session, Dec 9, 2011

Last week, I attended marketing guru Seth Godin’s Medicine Ball session. It got me unstuck, ready to rethink and focus on producing remarkable art in the world.

Before the event, my biggest ‘challenge’ or ‘excuse’ was that there wasn’t enough time in the day to produce my art in the world: to build a women’s leadership business, start a Bollywood dance company, and finish graduate school. The truth is: I OWN my time, I make choices about how to spend my time and ultimately what works of art get done done.

Timezones were invented 120 years ago and the notion of synchronization worked well in a factory-oriented world. Today’s connection economy is asynchronous, success is about producing remarkable art, presenting it to the world, and eventually people caring enough to pay for it.

Here’s my top four list of nuggets that Seth taught me about ‘owning my time’ to produce my art in the world.

1)   Set up your calls and meetings only 2 days a week. The other days are for your work, your time, your art.

2)   Have less meetings. Meetings don’t make decisions, leaders make decisions. When you have less meetings, more work gets done. Check out Al Pittampalli’s  “The Modern Meeting Standard” for more tips on effective meetings.

3)   Follow the 7pm rule. Why do we work past 7pm? We make rules to have lunch and shower, so when did it become optional to go home at 7pm – it’s the end of the day! Take the time you need to recharge and you’ll produce better art.

4)  Schedule hours per day for various tasks. Set a scheduled time each day for the work that matters most. Plan everything else around that precious time. Owning your time is about making time for the art that matters.

So get to work and OWN YOUR TIME! More tips from Seth are to come in my upcoming blog posts. And if you have other tips on how to own your time, please comment and share!

About ericadhawan

Writer about women, leadership and movement. Currently at Harvard and MIT.
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