Start-ups are a natural home to frenetic activity. People work super hard and put in long hours to see their vision fulfilled. In this world you have to do more than you think is possible faster than imaginable. Investors are the same way, doing everything we can to see everything, go to every event, talk to every entrepreneur and make sure we don’t miss out. On either side of the table chasing every opportunity without focus or priorities is a fast path to working more and more and accomplishing less and less.
I love hustle, but hustle without depth and focus is a waste of time.
With this in mind, I spent some time looking back at 2011 – the milestones in life and at work. Life was great with a move to Brooklyn and a new baby. Professionally 2011 was fantastic in a lot of ways and I loved spending a year in New York meeting really smart people who are busting it to build really cool stuff. However, looking back, I brute forced my way through much of the year and in 2011 I got eaten by my inbox.
Last year I spent a lot of time in the glorified position of inbox zero, but at what cost? What was urgent (often for other people) bubbled to the top and got done, but things that are important to me – time to engage deeply with a product or service; a lunch meeting that extends into post lunch coffee when the conversation is great; letting an idea you are passionate about or area you want to learn about consume you for a morning or a day; carving out time to chip away at a long term project in a consistent way for a month or a year – got squeezed out of the calendar.
My 2011 accomplishments, the goals achieved, all came from the discipline to focus and the control to slow down and make time for deeper, more meaningful engagement and learning. But somehow, the sense of accomplishment in the measurable elimination of unread e-mail often over-shadowed the need to prioritize my time, energy and focus each day.
I can’t let this happen again, so all the respect in the world to Brad and David, but in 2012 my new year’s resolution is to do less, slower.