The Value of Breathing Room


Today was a rare Friday afternoon where I had time on my hands (see how happy I am!) and it got me thinking about the value of breathing room in our business lives and how we use that room to think, plan, and reflect on our work.

I recently ran across this interview with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett about the value of your time and it was a great reminder to me of something my dad said to me early in my professional career – you better leave margins in your day to think and reflect or you’ll never have any creative or new thoughts.

Some weeks when I look at my calendar on Mondays there isn’t hardly a gap between any meeting all week. This is not healthy or productive. As Warren Buffett says in that video, time is the only thing we can’t buy more of so we had better protect it. In our personal lives we all agree wholeheartedly with that so why is it so difficult for us to believe it or adhere to it in our professional lives?

I believe that it is because we’ve been trained and brainwashed to think that the fast movers, the rising stars, and the top performers just run, run, run all day in the hustle for business. The reality is that those who succeed in business do work hard, but they also think and reflect. They stay in the moment with the people they are with, care about what they are doing to give it their full attention, and understand that QUALITY, not QUANTITY is what leads to a successful portfolio of business. They are patient enough to know that it is better to work through things with a challenging client that can do things at a high level than speed through things with a client that wants to cut corners and penny pinch.

So today I’m so glad I had some time for reflection and thinking. I’ll make it a higher priority the rest of the year. Have a nice weekend.


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