#75: Time Management
Speaker 1: Okay. What's that?
Speaker 2: What's that look like?
Speaker 1: Oh my goodness. That's a good one. That's I don't know if you can show the people, you're going to have to blur that out, but it's the last day of the month here and...
Speaker 2: Did the others starting to come here?
Speaker 1: That's legit. That's nice.
Speaker 2: That's nice.
Speaker 1: That's a nice time.
Speaker 2: All right. Okay. Times. Good times. Good times.
Speaker 1: Let's just take a minute in the frat because he used to take 60 days to get that.
Speaker 2: Oh my goodness at least.
Speaker 1: At least.
Speaker 2: Across a inaudible of people.
Speaker 1: All right so.
Speaker 2: Everything seems to be happening-
Speaker 1: So, it's the last day of the month. There's a lot of distractions in good way going on here at Drift. But you got an email from somebody yesterday, Ron, what's up Ron.
Speaker 2: What's up Ron. See we listen to family.
Speaker 1: We do listen to family.
Speaker 2: I don't answer my email, but somehow Ron got through.
Speaker 1: You know what I for awhile I was like," I respond to everybody."
Speaker 2: Yeah.
Speaker 1: I'm breaking.
Speaker 2: You breaking, finally?
Speaker 1: I'm breaking. Oh my God. It's bad.
Speaker 2: It's bad, right?
Speaker 1: It's bad. Can I have five minutes to talk about this 10 minutes? So I feel bad because I've said I answered to everybody but I think I got to graduate and then one level.
Speaker 2: One level. Yeah.
Speaker 1: All right. Anyway. So Ron emailed you. And I love this question because it's something we talk about a lot, which is time. And he said, how do you manage your time as CEO? Okay? And I wrote a bunch of notes because there's a million questions I could ask you about this topic, but no, but being serious here's the classic thing. What I want to get into the realness. I want to get into the no fluff. And so let's start here. Tell me what a typical day for you looks like not, I know it goes haywire by 11, right? But like what does a typical day like today you came in and you had what?
Speaker 2: Good question. So I live, this is a complicated.
Speaker 1: You live far away.
Speaker 2: I live far away, but, which is good. It gives me time to decompress coming in.
Speaker 1: That's what it is.
Speaker 2: But I'd say... That's what it's called decompress. So I compress, I compress on the way in, compress. And so the way that I deal with each day is, one, I've started earlier and earlier in my day. So I get up at like five, 5: 30. We've talked about that in the past. It gives me more time in the morning, but then I really live by my schedule at this point. I'm kind of like, I can not tell you anything that is happening tomorrow. I barely remember yesterday and I'm focused on just the stuff that's on my schedule. And if it's not on my schedule, it doesn't exist. But what I'm trying to look at each day is I roughly prioritize in big buckets and we can go into exact proportions and how we do that of like what's a priority for me, marketing is priority for what we do. Marketing and product are in one bucket. So I try to prioritize work that's going on there, that can help us move forward. Kind of like unlocked big rocks for other people. And then people is probably next. There's always some people related stuff, whether we're recruiting or doing one- on- ones or something like that, it's going on. And then there's like the customer bucket, which is customers that I'm talking to prospects that I'm talking to people that should be customers and or prospects that aren't and that could be giving talks or what have you. So roughly those three big buckets is where I'm juggling myself.
Speaker 1: And then there's a interesting chart, which you've talked about before. That has probably changed dramatically over the last two years. Right. Drift started. It was you and Elias and two or three other people in a room. Now it's grown and you've probably had to delegate or move things around. And so what's one thing that you were way more hands on two years ago than you are today?
Speaker 2: Lots of things. I'd say one of them, I just brought up today to you and to our man, which was like, I put myself in the middle of the block on buying any, budget, buying anything at Drift, Like pencil being bought. I was in the middle of that. And because I was trying to keep us lean and preserve cash for as long as possible. And now I'm like crying uncle and that stuff and saying like DG and Arman, Arman runs sales here, you guys have to define budgets and we need to talk about it, but I can't be involved in the day- to- day stuff on that anymore whether it's an event or what have you. And so that's an example of something where I used to be monitoring every purchase and everything that was going on in every hire and every thing from a dollar standpoint, I'm not anymore.
Speaker 1: Yep. And that's because that's just not the best use of your time.
Speaker 2: No. And now we have leaders in the company. I don't need to do that anymore. And part of them growing and those organizations growing is that they need to now grow into their own kind of campfires. And so the way I think about it is like we had one big campfire before. So like one centralized campfire and now each of the functional areas need to be their own little campfire. And then together we're one big campfire.
Speaker 1: I like that. So one of my questions that I had written down for you is, how do you decide, like that's an example of you have a choice of going deep and in the weeds on something or delegating it. What's been like the boiling point in managing your time? How do you figure out what you should go deep and be in the weeds on and this is something that I should care about? I mean, obviously you care about it all, but this is something that no, I don't care. I'm going to roll up my sleeves, I'm going to be in the weeds on this.
Speaker 2: Number one is always being on the weeds on things that affect our customers or brand prospects. So that's why I get so involved in marketing details and product details because those two things represent who we are as a company and our brand. And so I zero in on that stuff all the time. And then there's other stuff that might be more internal that doesn't affect either the company or the brand or what have you and so I like-
Speaker 1: People is a big one, right? You have raised your hand and said," I need to be interviewing single candidate." That's a big, that's obviously a personal thing.
Speaker 2: A big thing. Yeah. And for a while I wasn't. I was for a long time doing all of them. And then there was a little gap where I wasn't and now I need to like refocus and spend more time there because we're adding the rate at which we're adding people is going through the roof right now. And so we need to make sure that we're keeping the culture alive across all the teams.
Speaker 1: Okay. So through that stuff. So that's how you would decide you basically decided what you want to go deep on based on your priorities, your current priorities. What have you learned about managing your time as a CEO though? Because your inbox is insane. Your slack is insane, everyone, because you're here every day, everybody has a direct line to you, people, customers.
Speaker 2: Some people wish I wasn't, I wasn't here every day. Elias.
Speaker 1: I have not, I have not. Elias. crosstalk But like what have you learned? Like maybe it's what you're not good at or how would you, I'm assuming Ron is asking you because he's a CEO, right? So maybe tell Ron, like what you've learned about managing your time.
Speaker 2: I'd say one was the thing that we talked about, which is like figure out how to prioritize the most important thing, which is your customers and your brand, figure out how that works. Second, then second, prioritize people, which is usually the thing that slips, is the one that people give up the quickest, which is like interviewing one- on- ones, all that kind of stuff. Progression of people on the team they give up there and they run towards process or something else.
Speaker 1: The other thread though, that I just have noticed with you is your DNA as a founder is brand and product. And so those are the things where you're okay being hands- on. You are not a sales guy by DNA. So you're like," Arman I'm here, but do your thing. I'm not going to tell you how to close deals. I'm not going to tell you how to build urgency pipeline, all that stuff." But on the marketing side you might say," Hmm, don't like how this looks." That might change that or the product thing.
Speaker 2: Totally. Because I have an opinion there. And that's a good point. I was talking to a VP of product today who works for a company that's run by my friend, who's the CEO and he's a sales guy. And he defaults to the CEO as a former sales guy. So he defaults the numbers and the sales thing and he's most comfortable there and he's alien on the product side. So I'm actually helping him out a little bit on the product side with his VP of product and their strategy, because that's not an area of comfort for him. So he relies even outside of the company to try to get help there.
Speaker 1: I love that it goes back to super powers, like we always talk about. All right and so the last, this is what I want to wrap up with, was maybe talk about your CEO forum.
Speaker 2: Yep, I have, I just brought it up.
Speaker 1: And what you guys do. No, I meant to bring this up earlier though. I had a moment today where I was reminded of the power of peer groups like that. We have Gillam from Segment in the building today and just, you spend 10 minutes and you talk about ideas. It gets you out of a rut. I get it, the power of that. All right but you do an interesting thing at the CEO forum where you all map out how you plan to spend your time versus actual.
Speaker 2: Yep. So I opened this spreadsheet of which I don't own many spreadsheets, but here's one that we edit together as a team at the CEO forum. And the CEO forum is a two day offsite every quarter that happens between myself and let's say roughly eight other CEOs of different size companies. And we talk about key discoveries, is one area that we write about. And those are the discoveries that we learned from the other, our peer CEOs who have beaten on us for two days and then some discoveries and some things they need to focus on. Then we write our final advice from each of those individuals. We record that. We talk about business milestones and personal milestones that we want to get done for this next quarter. But then we go into this area of projected time spent in different areas and everyone has to come up with how they're going to spend time over the next quarter. And mine are, if we look at that, we say like team management for me is 20% of my time. Recruiting is the next 20%. Customer and prospects is 20%. Marketing products, 30%. This is probably often 10% with investors.
Speaker 1: I have a screenshot from, I think maybe the first time that you did this and this is what I wanted to mention. So your forecast for 2016 for marketing and product was 20%. The actual that you put was 50%.
Speaker 2: Yes. So at the end of the quarter we have our projected and then we come back and say," How did we actually spend time?" And so, and then those are areas to discuss.
Speaker 1: And what was the discussion around that? Somebody said, David, why was it 20%, but you spent 50%?
Speaker 2: 50% of your time. Yep. So discussion around that was like why? And for me it was like, this was an area that we need to get good at.
Speaker 1: That was hugie, that was the first year.
Speaker 2: Yeah. That was the first year. And so we needed to invest more energy in here. So I dove deeper in that area. And then the takeaway from that was, we needed to build up our marketing team beyond DG at that point. And so that I didn't have to spend 50% of my time there.
Speaker 1: For sure. And so I think what I love about this exercise, is I think this is good for anybody, right? Whether you're a CEO or not. I think this is something you can take out and budget those buckets.
Speaker 2: And then look at it at the end of the month or the end of the quarter, we do a quarterly and just say," How did I actually spend my time?" And then you learn from that.
Speaker 1: Yeah or like, you looked in the marketing product area and said, this is where I'm spending overwhelming majority of my time. How are we going to fix that? We're hire more people to do that job.
Speaker 2: Hire more people.
Speaker 1: All right. Did I leave out anything?
Speaker 2: No.
Speaker 1: Nothing else?
Speaker 2: Nope. I think that's the way to do it. I'm just reading at one of the guys, John, who's one of the CEOs. He's kind of his company was acquired. So I'm looking at his projected time spend, 75% take a summer break. 25% continue networking. So everyone's got a different allocation.
Speaker 1: I don't even know What you would do, you can't at 75% and the summer. I don't know we would have to be searching for you. I don't know where you would be.
Speaker 2: Yeah. That's what he said. But that guy is, I saw him at a conference crosstalk two weeks ago.
Speaker 1: There's no way.
Speaker 2: Talking to a bunch of people.
Speaker 1: One day off.
Speaker 2: Yeah one day off. Anyway, don't forget. We leave six star reviews. Now here on Seeking Wisdom, right? Worst case, leave a five star review, go to iTunes or wherever you hear this podcast. Leave ratings. We take ratings on Stitcher, iTunes, YouTube.
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Speaker 2: Salute.
Speaker 1: Great discussion on video plus messaging, which are two mega trends, in the marketing and secrets episode. While I usually listen during workouts, I'm starting to mix it up with video. Shout out. So shout out to Amy and Danielle for adding a whole new dimension.
Speaker 2: They said that?
Speaker 1: I love that. I didn't even make that up.
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