A lounge in a ‘young executive starter home.’ The young executive is stuffing papers into a briefcase. He’s simultaneously on the phone. A baby is crying in the background.
Ed (on the phone)
Sorry to ring on a Sunday night, John. I need the figures for last week. If you could … brilliant. It’s just I’ve got to be at head office to do the presentation. What? You must be joking. Nine o’clock…
(Now shouting to his wife)
I’m going about six. I’ll try not to wake you. Yes I know you’ll probably be awake all night with the baby. I’m really sorry. There’s nothing I can do. I should have travelled down today…
(His wife’s reply can’t be heard. Which is just as well…)
A golf club bar. Four golfers at a table. They’ve clearly just finished a round of golf.
Well, I’d like to stay for another but duty calls. Paperwork, more paperwork and an early start in the morning.
Me too. Seven o’clock kick-off for me. It’s no sooner Friday night than the weekend’s over…
What about you, Tim? Time for another one?
Can’t, Ed. I’m in the same boat. Due to report to the board at nine. Sunday night in the study for me…
Alright, I accept that I don’t need to get excited about ‘Best New Screenplay’ at the BAFTAs but those two episodes illustrate a central part of my life: I am now The Man who Loves Monday Morning.
If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I’ve written about time management a lot – both the Pomodoro technique and using Toggl to monitor my time. (If Toggl doesn’t work for you, try Asana or Trello instead.)
My experiment with Toggl – and at this point let me say a simple ‘thank you’ to my TAB colleague Tom Morton for introducing me to Toggl – lasted four months. Apart from demonstrating how easy it is to waste 15 minutes on LinkedIn, those four months showed one thing very clearly. I didn’t have enough time for myself: I didn’t have enough time to reflect, plan and prepare. To use the old cliché, I needed more time to work ‘on’ the business instead of ‘in’ the business.
So I took a significant decision: every Monday morning from 9/00 until 1/00 is ‘my’ time. No client appointments, no Board meetings unless it is absolutely unavoidable.
I now have four hours where I can work on my marketing, do all my preparation work, make any phone calls I’ve been putting off and generally feel that I’m in control of the rest of the week – rather than the other way round. So four hours, with at least two of them being spent working ‘on’ the business.
And there’s another benefit of this approach to Monday morning. See scene II above: my weekend lasts from Friday afternoon to Sunday night. I enjoy all of Sunday, knowing that whatever needs to be done, I can do it on Monday morning. That’s a significant step in keeping my work/life balance very balanced.
I remember once reading an article about Gerry Robinson, the former Chairman and CEO of Granada. At the time he was aggressively building the company through mergers and hostile takeovers – but what I remember from the article was Robinson’s assertion that he only worked, and would only work, 40 hours a week. For once Google has failed me so I can’t find the original article – or the exact quote that stuck in my mind. But it was along these lines: ‘If you can’t do it in 40 hours, you can’t do it in 50, 60 or 70 hours either.’
Like everyone reading this blog, Gerry Robinson was emphatically in the results business – and to achieve your results you have to be proactive with your time management: you cannot let the week’s events dictate to you.
That’s why my Monday mornings have become so important to me – and to my business. I’m planned, organised and focused for the week ahead and I’ve had the best possible weekend with my family: and the guys at the golf club as well – until they have to leave…