Diets Start on Monday

Scale-A-Week: 5 July 2010

Why are Mondays so powerful? Is it because work for most people begins on Monday? And is that really true any more? In the world of information and knowledge workers, it doesn’t feel true. We work all weekend. We work when our significant others are looking the other way. We answer emails while pushing the kids on the swing on the weekend. And yet, Monday seems to be the king day for “I’m starting something and I’m going to stick with it this time,” isn’t it?

Diets Start On Monday

I’ve been rethinking a lot about how I do what I do. After years of people saying things like, “I don’t know how you manage it all,” the real and honest answer is, “I’m not managing it all. I’m failing at lots of it.” And that comes from trying to juggle far too many connections, too many business opportunities, too much of everything. Abundance is often a word that means something positive, but for me, it’s been far too much.

It’s already started. On Facebook, I’m working on unfollowing/unfriending lots of people who aren’t my actual family or close friends. I’ve got about 3000 still to go, and it’s really slow clunky work. FB doesn’t make it easy to do. But I’ve shifted to maintaining a (not a fan) page instead, so that I can share stuff with you, but keep my personal social network just that: personal.

In doing this, I’ve found that about 95% of people understand immediately why I’m taking back my personal page. The 5% who don’t tend to complain that I’m too big for my britches, or that it’s not as personal, and all kinds of things that say “I want super duper insider access to you and I’m offended that you don’t want it.” The thing is, why do we all think being a Facebook friend is the same as having insider access? Why do we equate “friending” with being friends?

(The answer is, of course, that most people don’t. Only we online weirdos seem to suffer from these feelings.)

Chris NO-gan

I’ve been working on saying no a lot more in business. I have to focus on projects like Kitchen Table Companies and 501 Mission Place and Third Tribe Marketing, and, of course, my professional speaker work. Part of this is learning to say no to really great ideas and introductions that people want to make for me.

It’s really hard to decline an introduction. What happens is that someone will email me and email the person they want me to meet and then they’ll explain why we should know each other. The other person will invariably give me a wonderful email that says what they’re doing, and it will always sound really interesting. Only now, I have to respond that I’m buried and that I can’t really take on any new things right now. It’s a crappy thing to have to say to someone enthusiastic, especially if I’m the person that can be really helpful to them. Instead, I try to refer people as often as possible. This is a work in progress.

Input Diet

I don’t watch the news or read newspapers. I don’t read news blogs. Instead, I let ambient sources filter the news to my brain a little bit at a time. Someone will say “blah blah Afghanistan” and I’ll sniff around for some sources, if I want more. I’m writing this from the airport and CNN is advertising some murder trial. It sounds horrific. I don’t understand why we all want to feast on this kind of news. I’d rather watch TED in my downtime, and I would rather find inspiration instead of seek out suffering.

Randomly reading tweets and clicking though links isn’t working for me these days, either. I have cut my Twitter usage dramatically. Partly, I’m working on rediscovering the world outside the glass. Partly, I’m rethinking what I come to Twitter to do. Some of what I do is promotional. I have business to attend. Part of what I do is connecting with people about off-topic stuff. Yesterday, I talked about the new XMen movie. Why? Because we can’t all keep our work face on all the time. That’s not how business is done these days.

Not Time for “I Told You So”

Some people will want to say, “I knew what he was doing was unsustainable.” The thing is, you can sustain anything. The problem with that is that it comes with a cost. I’ve been losing touch with a lot of my life by focusing so hard on connecting and work. What value is connecting if you’re pushing fractions of your attention out to tens of thousands instead of building something of value with a few hundred?

Don’t misread this: having nearly 200,000 followers on Twitter isn’t my problem. Trying to actually build strong and meaningful connections all over creation is the problem. It doesn’t work. There’s one thing with connecting and getting ambient connectivity. It’s another thing to try your hardest to satisfy the intentions and wants of everyone who can reach me via a digital means.

Did I bring all this on myself? Is this “the price of fame” as people say to me when I write posts like this? Sure, if you want to call it that. But really, what I’ve been doing, is experimenting on the frontier. I’ve been learning new ways of doing business. I’ve learned a lot.

That learning came at a cost. I failed in lots of ways over the past few years. But I’m going to own those failures, and I’ll do what I can to make something come from even that, if I can. It’s all you can do at times like that.

Are You Aware of Your Consumption?

I’m not going to preach. I’m still absorbing the lessons. But are you aware of how often you’re connected? Are you thinking through what this costs? Are you considering how you can balance it better? Do you have a plan in place for what you’re doing or not doing with personal connections?

Some things to think about.

Oh, and you’re doing it wrong.

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