The Drift

The Drift

If I Only Had the Time.

In recent weeks I’ve posted about the concept of time. About letting go of the clock. About no longer watching the calendar like some sort of fever chart. But not obsessing about time is one thing: re-imagining how we use it is entirely another.

Our days and our weeks have always followed a certain cadence and rhythm… because, for the most part, they've had to. Because the traditional gathering time was in the early mid morning, you had to get the 7:25 Metro North train into the city, or get on the 405 at eight. Because the client in Seattle could see you on Wednesday, you set the machinery in place to work backward from your departure time out of Newark. All the while,  you ask yourself, how would I do this differently if I only had the time.

Now you do. But don’t read that the wrong way. It’s not that I think many of us are working to fill long, languid blocks of time. But we do now own and control time in a way that we never have before. So how will we use it?

Structure is still important: Committing to your workspace for blocks of time, and even dressing as you would for the office are great moves. But the key to re-imagining that structure, and your relationship with the time, lies in a very straightforward question.

What can I say yes to, today?  

Non-traditional scheduling options. Early morning time devoted to creativity, analysis and problem solving. 45-minutes of business reading... time you'd have otherwise spent in cabs or the car each day. A two-hour mid-day break to spend in family time or exercise, making up work time in the evening. 30 minutes a day, three days a week, for mentoring or otherwise connecting with an extended member of your organization or network. 

Re-imagining your relationship with the calendar and the clock won't just happen. It all starts with you choosing your own narrative about possibility.  

It starts with you saying yes.


More Posts

Alone in Space.

You're not alone if you're feeling overwhelmed and broken by the perceived enormity of the challenges. Indeed, if you find yourself struggling intellectually with the entire issue it will, in fact, break you. But the best managers and sellers - the best executives of every stripe - all seem to have the same rhythm. They slow it down. They break it down. They solve one problem and then the next. And if you solve enough problems, you get to come home.


Inside the Box.

At the end of this stage there won’t be a return to normal or anything close: there will be a transition to a brand-new era. And none of us will ever say, "I wish I’d waited longer to change."


We Can Do This.

Here at Upstream Group, it’s day 50 of The Siege. Having looked back over these weeks of recovery, reinvention and writing, I’m sharing my bullet list of ideas that have sustained and invigorated me. Hope you find them helpful.


Stopping the Clock.

Stopping the Clock breaks the tyranny of the calendar. It allows us to start living again in the present… to focus on the next hour. We can now start visualizing what productivity and joy and excellence look like in our altered world. We have only now. Stopping the Clock let's us make the most of it.


The Plan.

Dwight Eisenhower famously said "Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." Today I think rather the opposite is true. As we navigate the disconnection, isolation, disruption and anxiety of today’s pandemic and tomorrow’s shattered economy, I think The Plan is what matters. Let me explain.


The Broken Scoreboard.

The scoreboard has blown up. It’s been destroyed by the Coronavirus pandemic, and its absence is the reason sales people are struggling. The smart managers and evolved sellers are adapting by building new scoreboards. They’re building scoreboards around excellence and creating internal competition around learning, and service, and empathy. Understanding that this is not a time to reap, they are choosing to keep track of what’s being sown.


Bring Something.

The five percent we remember from rough times are those who showed up and brought something. They didn’t wait for the struggling party to define the need and ask for help. They were the five percent who said I’m doing this for you and then did it. They anticipated what could be helpful and then acted – not because there would be any payback, but because it was the right thing to do. They could have chosen to be polite: instead, they chose to be useful.


Walking the Floor.

Managers in our industry are obviously challenged in leading and motivating their teams in today’s disrupted, work-from-home, shared-family-space environment. As I coach and counsel them, my advice centers…


How the Light Gets In.

For the next several weeks, I’ll be devoting The Drift to supporting our disrupted community of work-from-home executives. I hope you’ll take the time to comment and share. None of us is alone. When you…


Victim or Victor?

Suddenly everything’s different. The conferences that we used to alternately ask for and grumble about are being rescheduled. The offices in which we claimed we just couldn’t get any work done or ever…


Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Somewhere in the packaged goods hall of fame there’s a plaque to the executive who found out how to double his company’s shampoo sales by adding a single word to the package. Up to that point, the instructions…


The Killer E's

Given the information-density and the significant IQ averages in our business, I suppose it’s understandable that there would be some ambivalence about saying “I’m in Sales!” Indeed, if you look at the…