How can one juggle everything?

This came from two questions:

David Mansaray ‏ @DavidMansaray: You recommend for people to diversify. One project can take A LOT of time + A LOT of work. How can we juggle everything?

kate goodyear ‏ @kategoodyear: EXACTLY! i’d love the answer to your question to @jaltucher (as a full time/side biz/parent/etc. person)

ANSWER:

In 2006 I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was running a fund of hedge funds. I was trading. I was writing for thestreet.com and The Financial Times. I had family responsibilities. But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t “getting over the top” in some elusive way that I wanted to. And people wanted more and more from me. I was starting to go crazy.

So, unfortunately, the first thing you have to do is take on even MORE things.

Here’s what I do:

A) Give up the non-essentials. Clients that take up too much time. Tasks that take up too much time without payoff. People that take up too much time. I had a dinner a few months ago with two friends of mine. I don’t normally go out for dinner but I hadn’t seen them in years. They all had a novel they wanted to finish, an arti project they were working on. And so on. On and on. All night. Appetizers, dinners, desserts, drinks, more drinks, talking, walking. How does anyone get anything done?If you have 10 things in your life like that you will get nothing done ever.

B) Keep the things that keep you alive (a job, for instance).

C) Exercise the idea muscle so you start coming up with both bad and good ideas. Every day come up with 10 ideas. An idea = [basic concept, spec of the whole idea, first step of execution, time you will do that first step]. You won’t come up with good ideas at first. But eventually you will say about some ideas, “Hmmm, this one is doable. I can at least start it.”

D) Eliminate any ideas that don’t get immediate forward motion. This might eliminate some potentially good ideas. But you really want to get moving right away. Eventually in 2006 I build about 10 websites. I tried everything to make them work but almostnone of them did except one: stockpickr.com.

E) Time management: Wake up at 5am. No dinner. No extra hanging out with friends. No TV. No extra meetings. My general rule on meetings are: No travel for meetings unles I have a 50% chance of making A LOT of money. No other meetings unless I have at least a 10% chance of making a year’s annual income. That cuts down on meetings quite a bit. If you do just the above you will save about 100 hours a month, which gives you not only more time to do extra activities that can help you but….

F) Be by yourself. Even Charles Bukowski, who was constantly drunk and depressed, said he can only be creative when things were looking up and he had time to be by himself. Make sure you take an “artist’s holiday” every now and then. The other day Claudia and I went to the local museum and just sat in the bookstore for two hours and read books on art and photography. Time for yourself. Time to be still. Time to be read. Time to write random notes. This is where the seeds of creativity are planted so when you are making your lists of ideas you have a great chance of having a good ide

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