052.  Timeboxing

VC Minute
Kicking off a focus on founder mental health, my first suggestion is Timebox. You'll hear me say this all the time: time is our most precious asset. Maybe a corollary to that is focus. I found that I can create focus by time boxing.

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As a founder every day, you go out and put yourself on the line to sell to customers, hire the best people, pitch to investors and try to keep everyone motivated and focused. But who’s taking care of you?

The whole business starts and ends with the founders. And your mental health needs to be a priority.

Over the next few episodes. I’m going to share some things to try, things that have worked for me over the years, things that I’ve dug it back into recently. Some of these may feel right, some may not. This is not intended to be “Rich’s 14 step guide to founder happiness.” It’s more of some things to try. Pick up what fits, mold to you and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Hopefully this helps you find some solid footing in these rocky times.

The organization of this is going to be extrinsic followed by intrinsic. My very first extrinsic suggestion is Timebox.

You’ll hear me say this all the time: time is our most precious asset. Maybe a corollary to that is focus. I found that I can create focus by time boxing.

The simple version of this is to have designated times for different activities. I learned this while doing sales, I would block out times to research leads and plan my calls. And then I would have a time of block just for calling, followed by a time of block, just for emailing. This way, I was deeply focused on one activity at a time.

My friend, Tim says, “structure gives you freedom.” And I love this. In this case, when it comes to time boxing. Create the space to succeed at everything in one bucket. And that momentum will carry you to the next and the next and the next.

I still practice this today, though in different ways. As a husband and a father, I have designated family time. I stop work every day at a set time, spend time with my family, put my kids to bed, spend time with my wife, and then I’m usually back to work in the evening. With this dedicated family block, I’m a hundred percent comfortable putting my phone down, turning off notifications and focusing on my family.

One of my personal rules is “vote with your dollars, invest with your hours.” Where you spend your time is how you invest yourself.

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