Things had become increasingly frantic at the office, and I found myself spending every day – including weekends – in back-to-back meetings.
My monthly session with my mentor was approaching, and I considered cancelling it because I just didn’t have time to spare.
In the end, I decided against cancelling, and instead opted to propose that we rather shorten the session from three hours to one. As I screeched into the meeting, my mentor couldn’t help but notice how frenzied I was.
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Once I’d collected myself, he suggested I set up a meeting for the following week with someone he knew, who would possibly be able to help me with an idea I’d had in our previous meeting.
My immediate reaction to his recommendation was that I couldn’t possibly set up another meeting for the following week because of all of my other prior commitments, and the only way I’d possibly be able to free up space in my diary, would be to choose between attending an existing meeting with a potential client, or meeting with his connection.
“Why do you only have the option between one or the other?” he asked. “Why not one and the other?” I replied despondently, “Because I just don’t have enough time.” I had so many balls to juggle at once that I no longer knew which way to turn, or what to prioritise.
An invaluable ‘tool’
“If we look back at all of our meetings, your mental model has always been that of ‘or’ – as in either/or,” he pointed out.
“The way in which you approach life and solve your problems is binary, because you only give yourself the option of choosing x or y, and never x and y.”
Time is the finite immovable in all our decision-making equations, so when you combine two or more activities, using the same time allocation, you end up freeing up more time in which you could do other tasks on your to-do list.
Therefore, the most important tool that you as an entrepreneur can utilise, is the technique of framing your life with and instead of or, because by doing so you will conceive innovative solutions to overcome challenges.
Free up time daily by completing one task and another one synchronously, such as:
- Listening to an audio book (especially one you are dying to read, but never find time to) while running on the treadmill.
- Using your hands-free kit to complete phone calls while sitting in traffic.
- Hosting dinner parties at home with guests who are business connections and friends – the most fruitful connections are often formed at these types of gatherings.
Subtlety must be deliberate
Don’t cause more frenzy in your life by retaining a binary mindset that only gives you the option of choosing one or the other.
Instead, frame your mindset with ‘and’, and ensure that subtlety is deliberate when devising solutions for tackling tasks simultaneously. This is an invaluable tool to possess, especially when you are faced with an unforeseen crisis.
Your shift questions
The secret to shifting your mindset and therefore your business is asking yourself these questions, and answering them honestly:
- Do I frame my life with ‘or’ or ‘and’?
- What can I achieve in the next half hour, by completing tasks simultaneously?