Today, were going to be looking how titans spend their time on a macro scale. When we talk about time management and scheduling your activities, we usually think of it in the micro (i.e., your daily schedule). This is good and necessary, since you need to take advantage of the quantitative reality that you only have 24 hours in the day. But, as a person who’s never really been a good micro-manager of time (but have had some serious help from FocusMe), I asked myself how important it is to have control over the macro is just as important.
Jumping to Another Ship of Focus
On one hand, you have someone who is a busy-bee. They have everything mapped on a planner. Breakfast. Work-out. X project. Day job. Y project. Dinner. TV. Bed. Personally, I’ve never been very good at that. But after watching the following video about the billionaire Mark Cuban, it occurred to me that perhaps strong macro-management of your time can be just as effective as micro-management.
This video doesn’t necessarily detail how Mark spends his day to day time, and he might you be a machine when it comes to detailed time scheduling, but what I was most fascinated with in this video, was the way that he jumped from project to project, and even in the face of failure, stayed persistent. He bided his time, focused on the task at hand, then jumped ship when it was time go.
He learned entrepreneurial skills on a local level. Buying stamps for people and other small jobs. Then, he got an investment for a bar. Stuck with that (and had lots of fun) until it got shut down.
Then, he moved on to Broadcast.com until he sold it to Yahoo for $4.5 billion. Now, it’s very possible that had Cuban continued to grow this company, he could have grown it to size even larger than Yahoo’s $4.5 billion evaluation and ended up making more money in the long run, but it probably would’ve taken much longer to achieve that level of financial prosperity, and it would’ve distracted him from his other pursuits that he took on after selling the website.
Focus on What You Enjoy
The most important next project of his was definitely his purchase of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team. It was an important purchase, firstly, because he was a huge sports fan. Quite simply, he did it out of love. And if no one has told you yet, the best decision you can make is to spend your life doing something that you actually enjoy. If you’re not doing that, you should probably go figure out how.
The second consequence of doing something that you love is that you’re probably going to spend more time doing it and go farther with it. As the poet, Charles Bukowski recommends in his poem Factotum, “If you’re going to try, go all the way.” The time from Mark Cuban’s entrance and subsequent takeover of Broadcast.com leadership in 1995 to the sale of the website to Yahoo in 1999 was only four years. The growth of the company was absolutely monstrous and is what made Cuban the financial titan that he is today, but I would dare say that Cuban values his ownership of the Mavericks far more than he did his billion-dollar profit from Broadcast.com (also, Broadcast.com turned to disaster when Yahoo took control of it, so there’s that).
Mark Cuban is still, to this day, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and has led them to multiple NBA final appearances and one NBA championship. Sure, the Dallas Mavericks are not worth as much as Broadcast.com was back in 1999, but as a billionaire, money isn’t his primary concern. He already has tons of it. Although, it is still worth $1.4 billion (he bought it for $250 million).
The Focus of Patience
Besides doing what you enjoy, Cuban’s story demonstrates the power of patience. A lot of comments in the YouTube video that I shared are keen on accusing Mark Cuban of just being very lucky. This might be because they’re jealous (the most likely case), or because they totally ignore the fact that he spent five years building Broadcast.com. Did he push out one of the founders? Sure, but I never said he was a nice guy. I said he was successful. Also, if you watch the video and see Chris Jaeb’s demeanor, you can see that he doesn’t exactly have the gumption to be cutthroat businessman (and it’s not like he went hungry; he got out of it with $50 million).
Mark Cuban might be a bit of a bull, he also worked very hard (and it’s probably because he does have a bullish personality that the company became what it did).
Five years. How many of you can say that you’ve worked that long on one single project, and poured all of your heart and soul into it, and then succeeded? Food for thought.
Show me someone who has worked hard for five years growing the company (at the helm, mind you; not going to cash out a millionaire as some grunt) and I’ll show you someone who is probably quite successful.
When you work hard, you usually get lucky, too.
Downloading Macro Focus
Okay, cool story, right? How does this apply to managing your time on a macro scale?
Don’t get caught up in the small bumps along the way. You have to be willing to dive headfirst into a five or ten-year project and seeing it to the end. From vision to tactile reality.
At the same time, don’t go down with a sinking ship. Life is about riding rafts. Businesses, friends, passions – they’re rafts, taking you to something…beyond. Don’t attach yourself to the path.
I speak of total immersion, but how does this translate to the micro? Despite not being very good at it, the way you spend a year is simply the accumulation of how you spend 365, 24 hour days.
How many days do you work at something? And how long each day?
I have had a great many bouts of productivity where I would work for 12 or 14 hours straight, but then, at some point, that focus would disappear from my purview and my attention would slowly waiver and drift to something else.
This isn’t to condemn 12 or 14 hour workdays. As we talked about in the Elon Musk article, sometimes an 80 or 100-hour workweek is not only necessary but efficient for creating your business quickly. However, if you only work hundred-hour week a few times a year, you might as well only have been working a few hours a week for a year.
Perhaps it’s much more effective to work consistently for a long period of time. In other words, long-term immersion. Or both. Keep it steady in the macro, and stay focused for years at a time, but also dedicate many hours of each day to that focus.
When to Un-Focus?
We talk a lot on this blog about focus. I mean, it is in the name.
We tell you about how downloading FocusMe will help you focus on the things that you considered truly important. But if you understand the nature of FocusMe, and that it gives you time by blocking the time you spend on other things, you will realize that sometimes the best focus is quite simply the un-focus of everything other than your task. Meditation, for example, is quite literally this. Un-focus on everything that you consider a distraction, and the only thing left is what you consider important.
Fusing the Micro and the Macro
The amount of time you work directly affects the speed in which you finish something, and the quality of that task. But as we have told you time and time again, you only have 24 hours in a day. You also only have 8760 hours in a year. For you to create a good business or an earth-shattering book, it may take five years to create. This gives you around 43,800 hours.
So, if you do occasionally lose track of the micromanagement of your hour-to-hour scheduling, don’t lose hope. There is plenty of time. It is more important that you spend time chasing one big dream, little by little, than be distracted by a host of unrelated, random assignments or endeavours, that aren’t correlated in any way. Your projects should funnel into each other.
Of course, don’t let this lure you into laziness or apathy. Instead, let it lure you into a slow burn mentality. Slowly, but surely, build towards your goals, ignore the small bumps, and stay focused. The time will pass regardless of what you do, so might as well pass the time doing something you enjoy.
If you need help with that, go download FocusMe. Quit getting distracted by your emails, Netflix, or what have you, and go do what you really want to do.
Go all the way.
All. The way.