I just got back from a trip to our data center in Chicago. On the flight home I had a good hour and a half to spare so I decided to work on some copy for our new Postmark API docs. After preparing for landing and closing my laptop I had a big realization. This was the first time in a while that I used idle time to get productive work done. I was naturally motivated to make progress.
This might sound normal or obvious, but In the last year or so I’ve found myself just wasting time during these idle periods. I had no motivation or drive to work. That short time on the plane was a big change for me.
So what influenced the change?
Back in April I took the entire month off. Wildbit turns 15 this year and I was feeling a little burned out. Not overwhelmed, just worn out from doing the same thing for so long. Worn out from not knowing where to focus my energy or time. During that time I took about 10 days and hiked the mountains of Bhutan with my dad, went to Singapore and Bali and spent some days on the race track. The most crucial part is that I didn’t touch my email or work the entire time (thanks Natalie!). Instead, I read and reread books on business and leadership from authors like Carnegie, Drucker and Collins.
My biggest realization is that I basically let the momentum of Wildbit run on its own for a while. I was still working hard day to day, but I wasn’t pushing the company forward and helping our team grow and succeed in the way that I am capable of doing.
When I came back in May I had more energy than I have had in years. Not just to work, but to shape our company again and lead the effort. To give us a path and make sure we have the resources to get there. To help our team become more productive and fulfilled individuals.
Both Natalie and I are treating Wildbit like a start up again. Using any free time we have to ponder about how we can improve or to continue pushing our efforts forward. And more importantly, giving ourselves more time to think at a high level. We still go home at 5pm each day and put our work away. However, our renewed drive and motivation has never been more clear and focused.