Value your time and attention

In one of my McKinsey projects, every Friday, sharp at 5:30 pm, our engagement manager would pack up and vanish while the rest of us kept slogging till late in the night. And for the next 24 hrs, he was unreachable even if the world melted down.

What was the mystery behind this Cinderella-like disappearance?

Turns out that he was Jewish and was observing the Sabbath, which requires the faithful to abstain from using any technology from Friday to Sat evening.

How we envied him and even wished that we were Jewish! 🙂

But on a serious note, did anything prevent us from switching off for a day? Did we really need a religious excuse?

In another project, a consultant who was divorced and got custody of his daughter on weekends, declined to open his laptop on Sat and Sun. Nobody had a problem with it.

It is all about setting expectations. We assume that people won’t like it. But give them alternatives — offer to clear all emails during the day; give alternative time-slots.

Being accessible all the time is the recipe for an unhappy life. I switch off completely for 12 hrs on Sundays and it is just amazing.

Staying perpetually busy is not the answer — find undistracted time to do focused work, experience ‘flow,’ and sometimes just do nothing.

If you don’t value your time and attention, nobody will.

– Rajan

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