At the Denver Wordcamp, I talked about the value of making decisions that matter by focusing only on the most valuable decisions. I believe that the role of the Chief Executive (regardless of the size of the company) is to tackle the HARD decisions, not chase the RIGHT ones. Simply, there’s no way to know if you are going to be right or wrong. But those hard decisions you’ve been putting off won’t get any easier.
After a while, this can get really taxing and stressful. It’s like running a mental marathon everyday, whether you feel like it or not. Running a start-up isn’t a young man’s game, it’s a game for people who love what they do. Because if you don’t love doing it, it’s not worth the pain.
My friend Jeffrey Kalmikoff of Threadless wrote about the time in between the running. Sometimes the hardest thing for me to do is to turn off the brain. Instead of fighting it, I’ve learned to just redirect that energy at something else. I’ve found it extremely important to structure an environment that helps me become more knowledgeable and connected.
When I’m not working, here’s what I’ve been able to structure myself to do:
- Help my friends:
During the week, I make a list of things I “owe” to my friends and I try to come up with ideas to help them. It’s sometimes a lot of fun to think outside of my world and put myself in their shoes. I found myself learning a lot about my friends and myself that way.
Technology can make a big difference. I purchased a Kindle 2 recently and it’s upped my book-based information intake 300%. Dorky, but I love it. I also found a way to use my credit card points to pay for magazines I like. Cash is king. And saved up points don’t accrue interest. Use them.
- Plan relaxation:
Personal trips, buying some toys, making appointments for things. This commits me to blowing off steam so that I am sure to do it and give me the mental reward of knowing that there’s a small reward at some point in the certain future.
So, how do you turn it off?