When meeting people in a group for the first time, one question that comes up often is, “How do you find the time to do all that you do?” They’re talking about the daily blog posts, the Twitter, the speaking at events, conversations, my actual job, and my family life. I often answer somewhat jokingly that I just type a lot. It’s only somewhat jokingly. Part of it is typing. But I can share more.
Side note. It’s funny that people are always telling me that I seem very busy. 1, I am. 2, that’s okay. It’s a good thing. 3, Gandhi had the same hours in a day as me. Time is never the answer. Learn to master your calendar, or it will master you.
Don’t Sleep Late
I have help in this department.
But, I find that by sleeping no more than six hours (not recommended, but you asked!), I have a few more hours in the day.
Don’t Watch TV
I don’t have cable. I watch some movies, and video stuff from the Internet in doses, but I don’t have a TV habit. That gives me back a few hours a day that some of you occupy otherwise.
Think While Doing Other Things
All day long, my head is formulating information. I’m thinking about things I’ve read and researched, things that I’ve learned through my own trial and error, and things gathered through conversations and other learning avenues. But my processing of that data goes on when I’m at the grocery store, or the gas station, or on my long commute. This gives me the opportunity to choose how I use the information I gather.
Sometimes, it’s appropriate for work. For example, I’ve got a newsletter (my job newsletter) deadline coming up, so I’m reading about emerging technology trends. But instead of just reading about them, when I’m standing in line, waiting for the man in front of me to finish arguing with the automated cash register, I’m wondering how HP acquiring EDS further advances the mindset of business processing over traditional IT computing.
Read Good People
I learn all day from people like Chris and Jon and Jeremiah and Geoff and Valeria and oh so many others. I dip my head into Twitter to find the gems. I seek out stories via Google Blogsearch and via podcasting channels.
Oh, and I watch TED and Pop!Tech and really clever stuff like that, too.
Practice, and Type a Lot
Want to know my secret to writing well? Write often. Write a lot. Read it aloud. Write even more. The more I type, the better I learn how to formulate my thoughts, the better my language flows in a way that you read it, understand it, and can find parts to act upon.
Okay, for the bonus round, let me tell you about the whole thing, all in one place, in a way that you might understand it. Don’t tell people. Shhh. Get closer.
Ultimately, I’ve come to believe that we are writing a new kind of code (like software, but also like genetics, and also like secret code). This code requires human interfaces, and that’s us, but it’s also the way we use the tools and devices we choose to use to convey information. What I am doing, more than anything else, is trying to use these tools, to master them, and to understand how this relates to human needs, human behavior, and how I might encourage behaviors to move in certain patterns that match my original intent.
Programming. I’m learning how to program, and so to do that, I have to write lots of code.
Why? To be helpful. To know how to connect others. I met some brilliant people tonight, and my first thought was, “How can I loop these people into the network, such that they can provide resources to others?” One especially clever copywriter will likely find new business within not so many days, if I can figure a few more things out.
Let me recap all that: I’m learning how to use these tools to build human networks, and then using what I’ve learned to help others achieve their business and organizational goals.
How? I don’t sleep and type a lot. Right?
We can talk more in detail about how I use the networks and outposts tomorrow, okay?