Let's play a quick game. Why are the numbers 480, 168, and 960 important?
First, 480 is the number of minutes in an eight-hour day. That's not much when you consider the avalanche of social media demands, meetings, and other battles for your attention. As for 168, this is the number of hours in a week. According to a recent global survey by LinkedIn, a whopping 89 percent of people say they don't achieve their daily goals. We're distracted, our brains are tired, and we're having more accidents. I've witnessed this phenomenon firsthand. Once, I saw a person walk straight into a fountain because they were looking down at their cell phone.
This all leads to the final and most humbling number -- 960. Nine hundred sixty months is the amount of time you have on this earth if you're lucky. The number translates to 80 years of age -- 29,200 days to be exact! Sadly, we spend so much of our precious time committing to a business we don't believe in or a career that leaves us feeling like a shadow of our former selves. So the question is are you a Chief Doing Officer (CDO) or a Chief Procrastination Officer (CPO)?
Chief Doing Officer.
Look at Larry Page, Elon Musk and Reid Hoffman. They know their why, their leadership purpose and match it with focus and speed. They are Chief Doing Officers that follow three simple rules. First, clarify your purpose and don't just focus on career, focus on a legacy. Second, simplify everything - that means deleting, replacing and updating all your processes in order to be nimble and fast. Third, multiply your imagination by a factor of 10 whether it's thinking big on vision or increasing your team's success tenfold. Being a Chief Doing Officer means turning talk into action - it's the golden thread that links all great entrepreneurs from Jeff Bezos to Steve Jobs.
Chief Procrastination Officer.
Procrastination can cause flight-fight or freeze behaviors and a hasty retreat from your boldest dreams. You give up and therefore guarantee your fate but also condemn yourself to procrastination's closest cousins: perfectionism and paralysis. As Y Combinator's co-founder Paul Graham says, most of the biggest battles you'll ever fight will be inside your own head: procrastination, perfectionism, and paralysis (3 P's) are three of the biggest derailers you'll have to manage in order to reach your most effective self.
You don't have to be a CEO or run a startup to be a Chief Doing Officer. It's about taking control of your vision rather than someone else hiring you to fulfill theirs. Get started, have a clear destination, fail fast, test ideas lightly and often, and know that those who are Chief Doing Officers hold two mantras:
1. Invest time rather than spend it.
2. Saying "no" is a productivity tool.
What will you do with your 960 months? The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.