Do as little as you can to succeed

Last weekend I sat on a panel of business school alumni. We fielded questions from prospective MBA students. They all wanted to know…how do you manage your time when you’re studying part time and managing a full time job?

Clients don’t care that your studying and your lecturers and syndicate group members don’t care what your clients want. And what about your family and friends.

Somehow you’ve got to find a way to fit it all in. You sleep less, go out less and with a bit of practice you learn to produce much more, with a lot less effort. You simply have to.

You work out when to spend time reading thoroughly and when to skim. You come to understand the Law of Diminishing Returns and you stop re-reading and obsessing. You find the sweet spot of least input for maximum outcome.

Then you take that idea to work everyday and you start getting better results when you’re under pressure. You get great at fast and good work. And that is one of the best things about having no time, for years on end.

Lessons from the Orthopaedic Zone

bone

Last summer, in less than a mouse-click, I snapped my fibula and tibia and dislocated my ankle at roughly 45 degrees to my shin. Now, I’m a big fan of experiential learning but I have to admit, as a I lay screaming, the idea of reviewing David Kolb’s axiomatic model of reflection, the Cycle of Learning, wasn’t on my to-do list. I did come to learn, not long after, that there is indeed a website for everything. http://www.mybrokenleg.com does exist.

When Christopher Hitchens invoked the Nietzschean phrase, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, he professed serious doubt about cancer and it’s treatment making him stronger. Ha, but a broken leg…nothing really, in the scheme of things.

Did it actually make me stronger. Doubtful. Though it did give me a lot of time to think. Mostly, I lay calmly and thought about the calming effecting of laying calmly. Nice feeling, if you can get it.

I try to recall that restfulness now that I’m upright and mobile and occassionally stressed to the eyeballs. I have to admit it is difficult to remember. I’m not sure I have any lasting lessons from the orthopaedic zone. Or maybe there is this…sometimes unexpected things happen and then you get up, get moving and get on with it.