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The upside of slack in my schedule

Earlier today, I was listening to the YC podcast with Amy Buechler and Michael Seibel, and Michael was talking about a time early on in his startup when it was just him and the three other co-founders on the team. While the other three were proficient in coding, he was a non-tech founder who focused more on business development and customer support and fundraising. When the other three were very busy building the product, he had more time on his hand which allowed him to think deeply about the users and the product and come up with ideas that made the product a lot better than what they had originally envisioned.

If my own life was being run by some co-founders, I realised that I'm missing a non-tech co-founder like Michael.

I've written about the upsides of having slack in my schedule before, but I haven't yet been able to make use of it effectively often enough.

When I fill my schedule with things to do and don't leave enough slack to have time where I have nothing scheduled and am left to my own devices, to mull over my own thoughts and to simply let my mind run wild, my creative output actually suffers.

In the cases that I have used slack effectively, I've done it by scheduling periods of time interspersed with slack followed by periods of time with a busy and hectic schedule. For instance, I've always been the most productive creatively right after returning from a vacation away from my regular schedule where I only do about twenty percent of what I do in a normal week.

When I don't have enough slack in my schedule, I don't have enough time to think deeply and to care about what I'm doing. This care goes above and beyond simply accomplishing a task in a proficient way. This care is what adds life to my work and joy to my life.

Whenever I see these going down, I build in a lot more slack into my schedule than I normally do. And more often than not, this does the trick of rejuvenating my care and love for everything that I do and I regain my creative productivity.

I did this last week by flying back home to Bangalore and spending the week there.

If you're noticing a slump in productivity, perhaps you ought to consider adding in more slack to your schedule to let your mind wander freely and process things sub-consciously. And you'll come back at it with renewed vigour.

(This is a cross-post from my weekly mail to The 0.7 Club!)

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