A few years ago, a friend inadvertently showed me the secret of extreme productivity. Here is the story.
This friend was on a short sabbatical and popped into my office, asking if he could help me with anything. Knowing how bright he was, I asked him if he could flesh out an execution plan for an initiative we had planned.
He promised to send something by evening and then left.
Meanwhile, I kept playing the role of a ‘busy startup CEO’, sending emails and doing a lot of small things here and there.
In between, to clarify something, I called this friend of mine but his phone was switched off. I emailed him but got no response. I realized that he was probably busy with something else — after all my work wasn’t a real priority for him.
A few hours later, this guy emailed me a fully fleshed-out plan, with a spreadsheet and PowerPoint describing every single step. Normally, such work would take a few days.
In the hours I spent ‘CEOing’ around, accomplishing little, this guy had moved mountains.
He showed me that even in today’s maddeningly hectic life, it is possible to create a focus bubble — pick one task, cut off everything else, and you will discover superhuman powers.
In today’s world of email, Slack, and WhatsApp, everyone is trying to always be on top of things.
Sometimes, we need to pause, to get to the bottom of things. That is where the magic happens.