Archive for the ‘time management’ tag
Five years ago, when I was a newbie entrepreneur (and in mid-20s as against in early 30s!), I thrived in “being busy”. Late nights in office used to be a benchmark of how well we must be doing as a company. I think I might have even sneered at some of the more wisened business owner friends who actually went home by 7 and didn’t shy away from delegating work. But for the cowboy entrepreneur inside me, “delegating” was a four letter word. “Those who can do, those who can’t delegate”, went the saying.
Well, five years down the road, I have a lot more grey hair and I hope a little more insight. Between all our businesses, there are over 300 people. We operate in two geographies (Middle-east being the the other one) and work on a very diverse set of technologies (travel technology, web 2.0, publishing workflows, mobile applications, .NET, php etc). I guess TBO doesn’t even qualify as a startup anymore!
That sounds exciting, and it is! So where is the problem? Well, my problem is that I have no time to think. As our businesses have grown, I have ended up with so much operational clutter on my desk, that each day is a constant battle against time. On any given day, I get over 300 genuine emails (over 2500 notification and system alert emails excluded) which require almost immediate response. I run out the battery on my blackberry with out fail by 6 PM. I go and up down approximately 600 stairs during the day (the only exercise I get, by the way). I clock about 200 KM of travel for meetings (excluding home to office and back) within the city in a week. I travel domestically about once a month and internationally about once in 45 days.
So, when I say I have no time to think, I mean it very literally. All my working hours go in reacting to email, answering the phone, handling crises, meeting customers and managing employees. All of this is important work and in a way this is what has contributed to our growth and success so far. But over the last few months I have realized that genuine innovation or groundbreaking stuff can not happen if the promoters of the company are just heads down in work all the time. I have been fortunate to have closely observed a few very successful and experienced entrepreneurs. All of them have a common trait – they have time! It sounds counter-intuitive but the fact is that these people have plenty of open slots on their calendar. They actually spend this time thinking, reading, observing and meeting new people. I am quite sure this is in fact the reason that they have been so successful in their businesses!
Time management is perhaps the most important factor building a successful enterprise. It is essential for leaders in a company to be able to set aside time to just stop, observe and see where the company is heading. Strategic decisions can be made only when day to day distractions are taken away. While I have realized this fact, I am still grappling with how to get out of the rut. Any thoughts or suggestions on how you manage your time would be most welcome!