60 Minutes: My Rules of the Road

60 Minutes-03-03

After my long opening post for March, it’s time I shared some details about how I plan to work 60 minutes a day, 7 days a week, throughout the month of March.

Here are the common questions I’m getting and my answers to them…

What time will your “60 minutes” be?

I asked the dice what time my 60 minutes should be, before the end of last month.  The dice told me it should be 2.30-3.30pm every day.  This is possibly the most annoying outcome in a whole month of dicing.  Unsatisfyingly not late enough in the day to mean I can roam off the grid before returning to work, unsatisfyingly still early enough that by 3.30 most of the day’s gone.  So I’m annoyed about that one.  Luckily, I am no longer bound by the decisions of the dice (!) but I should at least honour the decision where possible.  I actually missed my allocated time on Sunday, having already got tickets to see Bobby McFerrin on Sunday afternoon at the Barbican in London.  So I’m going to stick to 2.30 where possible, but I’m going to be flexible with myself too.

What’s classed as “work” and what’s not?

I expect – and hope! – that this will become one of the learnings of the month as a whole, and my definition may even change along the way.  But for the moment, my definition is along these lines…

> anything to do with Think Productive UK is work, whether I enjoy doing it or not (this includes emails, phone calls and so on.  If people call me outside of my regulation hour, I may choose to take the call if that’s the time that suits them, but the time spent comes off my total for that day.)

60 Minutes-02-02anything to do with my personal life – is NOT classed as work, whether I enjoy it or not. So working out in the gym, training for my marathon isn’t work, tidying the house (we’re moving at the end of April so there’s plenty to do!) and so on.  All of these things are probably to most people very squarely in the bracket of “non-work” anyway, but to lots of people running businesses, there’s less of a “work-life boundary” as all of these things are a drain on the attention.  To be honest I usually don’t make this distinction so clearly and I don’t mind sitting in the office booking gig tickets or sitting at home sending important emails – it’s usually more important that I manage my attention well than I keep a firm boundary.  So this will be interesting as the month progresses.

Won’t you just do stuff off your personal to-do lists?

Well, maybe.  But I also want it to be a month of being open to possibilities.  I think if I finish the month with an empty ‘@home’ list and nothing more substantial than that, it’ll be a failure of a month.  So I really want to go beyond that and focus on quality downtime, or Ninja Preparedness as it’s otherwise known!

How will the company’s ‘Daily Huddle’ be affected?

At the moment, we run Daily Huddles every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  I will continue to do these either at the normal time of 9.40am, or at 2.30pm when I first log on.  However, if we do it at 9.40, I’ll subtract the minutes from my daily 60?

Will you have weekends off?

No.  This is going to be a strange habit to break.  I very rarely work weekends.  In fact, I rarely even think about anything work-related during the weekend.  I’m good at switching off and tend to be an all or nothing sort of guy.  So this new routine of never having a day off will be strange, even if I probably won’t need weekends in quite the same way, having only worked 5 hours that week by the time Saturday arrives!

What about Think Productive UK workshop delivery?

Well, I have a short (one hour) workshop booked in during that month.  So I will class that the hour for that day.  Beyond that, there won’t be any workshop delivery for me.  This isn’t actually that unusual these days: we have a fabulous team of Productivity Ninjas stationed all around the UK (and even now in Canada too!  In fact, it’s our Canadian Ninja Dawn’s influence which means I have picked up using the word ‘fabulous;, which is… nice!) so my role in the team has been changing a lot over the last two years.  Thankfully, I’m much more focussed on strategy and growth than on the day-to-day.  Don’t forget I spent most of last year squirreling away on my book so we’ve had to consciously build a business that doesn’t just survive, but grows without me.  And we’ve got a fabulous team of people at TPHQ whose brilliance makes that actually happen.

The truth is, I love delivering our workshops.  Even after delivering them so many times in the last four years, the changes that our work brings about is wonderful to see.  But at the same time, it’s unsustainable to have me trying to work IN the business as well as ON the business.  This month will be a firm reminder to engage only where I add value, and get out of the way to avoid being a bottleneck with everything else.

Wish me luck!  And I’d love to hear from you….

Whilst your boss may not sanction exactly the same experiment as I’m undertaking here, what are some of the ways you could play with your working hours and the boundaries between work and play?

60 Minutes-01Like this? Try these

Attend one of our time management workshops, to help you get things done

Read all of Graham’s blog posts on his 60 Minutes experiment 

 The four-day week: less is more | Money | The Guardian 

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