Being a founder, not to mention a CEO, can be a very lonely place, carrying loads of stress and required to constantly be at peak performance. This often makes it hard to find a balance between one's professional and personal life. Maintaining strong relationships with the co-founders and investors is also not an easy task, where clarity and empathy are not always present. As one of my entrepreneurs says: “It’s not the technological challenge we deal with, it’s the mental one.”
“Throughout my +15 years as a professional, I've always been attracted to the intersection of business and psychology through entrepreneurship - What makes people tick? How do people think and act? And what motivates people in business? What drives me is being there for the amazing entrepreneurs, who are under constant pressure, so that they can make our world a better place. That’s what I’m here for, and this is my podcast – The Human Founder.”
Ep. #47 - With Tommy Barav, Co-founder & CEO at Magical
We all feel the burden of managing our time effectively. There is so much content to consume and so many things to learn that teach us how to optimize and grow in various ways for various aspects. As a founder that needs to manage so many projects at the same time - below are a few hacks that you should consider implementing to do the same:
1. Timeboxing is a very efficient way to manage your calendars. Begin by dividing your work into 2 categories: deep work and shallow work. As its name suggests, deep work requires deep concentration and higher cognitive thinking (e.g. - preparing a board PPT). The rule of thumb for this kind of work is to block out between 90-120 minutes of uninterrupted time. Shallow work is work that doesn’t require too much concentration, like posting on social media. The idea behind timeboxing is to block your calendar accordingly, to avoid a situation where shallow work is minimizing our deep work time.
Designing your schedule for the upcoming week (at the end of each week), by blocking out about 90-120 minutes each morning to work on the 1 meaningful task (that you have previously defined), will help you achieve this. That’s exactly how the Eisenhower Matrix Method is designed. All meetings can take place after lunch so that mornings are free for creative and deep work time. Make sure to close your email during this time to take away any form of distraction, as it takes our mind 16-23 minutes to recover from them. Don’t forget to spend 20 minutes, 3 times a day, going through your email to manage your inbox. Also, try to avoid task switching. If you need external help with such a task - Simplify helps you put constraints on your Gmail, and News Feed Eradicator does the same for FB. The idea is not to delete the services - but to modify their use to suit your own needs.
Remember, you are a founder, employer, friend, and family member, all rolled into one– your calendars should therefore be synced accordingly. A holistic calendar should reflect both the personal and professional ways in which you invest your time.
2. Matt Mochary, a CEO Coach and the author of The Great CEO Within, speaks about Calendar Auditing. At the end of the year, print your calendar and review all 52 weeks, with multi-coloured markers. Choose one colour and circle all the events that boosted your energy. Then, try to categorize any event that didn't, according to certain patterns. This will allow you to make more conscientious decisions when planning the coming year. For example, try to minimize the number of events that don't boost your energy. If it is a necessary task, try to think of different ways to substitute them while keeping their core value, so that you won't waste all your energy. For example, commuting doesn't serve you well, so try working remotely. That will give you more time in your calendar for things you love. Remember, categorizing the events into the proper categories is important because it will allow you to have a clear vision of your schedule and the individual importance of each event, be it, family, network, IR, hiring, inbox processing, or health to name a few.
3. Our brain can’t remember it all and we wouldn't be able to accomplish everything we wanted to, even if we didn't sleep. That's why we need to create an artificial brain - a second brain that documents information and helps us make decisions and save us precious time. Tools like Notion, Clay, Roam Research (a note-taking tool for networked thought, easy to use as a document, yet as powerful as a graph database), Mailbrew (create beautiful, automated newsletters with content from the sites and apps you love), Readwise (grow wiser and retain books better: Readwise sends you a daily email resurfacing your best highlights from Kindle, Instapaper, iBooks, and more) and others, help in managing and saving your time by capturing, containing, indexing and pulling the right data for specific tasks or decision making. The idea is to give you more and more time, like how compound interest works; each month you save time, which translates to even more time saved the next month. Also, learning and implementing methods like Space Repetition can help boost our productivity and ability to remember. The whole idea is to give you more time affluence.
Well, there are so many productivity and time management tools, and that is exactly the problem. How can we reduce the noise? Is there one tool that syncs everything together? How can we create ONE tool that will better our productivity?
That was one of the reasons why Tommy founded Supertools - a community that aims to expose its members to various tools to increase and optimize their time. That brings another major question - how much technology should we consume? Are we managing the technology, or is it managing us? Technology is not good or bad - it’s neutral. It simplifies our life - provides us with measurements (like the Apple watch), or stress and readiness levels (like the Oura Ring) - but that’s not enough. We need insights and recommendations, to deal with decision fatigue. It’s a question of how we manage the relationship with technology tools; we need to care about our time.
The problem with calendars is that they are broken. Their purpose is to be our RSVP platform - but what we actually need is a gatekeeper, not a bookkeeper; a tool that will minimize our bad time decisions. The only way to become rich with time is to change our mindsets, put systems in place, and become our own Chief of Time. To create a huge impact, there is a need to create software, and that’s what Tommy is working on now at Magical.