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“No-meeting Wednesdays”

Ramit Sethi · June 17th, 2015

On Monday, I wrote about what happened when my business grew faster than I thought possible.

Now, let’s take a closer look at one of the tactics I used to make it happen. (This is something you can use whether you run a business or not.)

A few years ago, I found myself getting tons of emails from readers, my team, friends. I’m talking 1,000+ emails/day. And just as I would wake up and start answering them, I’d get dozens more.

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At first, I thought I HAD to answer every email. That’s how I built my business in the first place. I tried but quickly saw that if I replied to every email I wouldn’t have time to focus on anything else.

I could go the entire month answering emails…and have nothing to show for it.

Let’s see….my options are:

  • Wake up and spend my entire day fighting other people’s fires
  • Decide to take control of my time and do what I WANT to do

Notice how it’s so easy to say, DUH RAMIT, SECOND BULLET POINT, LOLZZ

But the minute you say “I’m going to take control of my time,” that stupid voice in your head starts saying things like:

“Yeah, BUT”…

  • “You HAVE to answer everyone’s emails”
  • “Maybe that might work for YOU, but not everyone runs their own business”
  • “I’m already behind. I don’t have enough time for this weird strategy stuff”

Screw that. I decided to grow, so I’m going to do what I have to do.

If I was going to make a massive impact, I needed to get out of the day-to-day and work on my business, instead of in it.

If I kept waiting for an opening in my schedule or for an amazing business idea to strike, it never would’ve happened. I had to intentionally set aside the time in my week for thinking about “big picture” stuff.

No meetings. No calls. Just time to think about strategy and where I was going with IWT.

I started by carving out a couple hours on Wednesdays. Then I expanded to a half-day, and finally made Wednesdays totally my own.

ramit_calendar_wed_blogBad, better, GREAT. By the way, “DND” = Do Not Disturb
 

When Wednesday rolled around, I had a list of books and articles I would read. I have a notepad I take notes in. And every so often, a big idea hits…

In fact, the idea for one of our programs — Brain Trust — came up during one of these strategy sessions. Here are the numbers:

rbtnumbersscreen

 

That’s over 2,500 members at $49/month — people from around the world who love the program.

rbt_past

 

All from one of those Wednesday sessions.

I could have spent my entire year answering emails and I never would have come up with this idea. The key was (1) having time set aside for myself and (2) studying high-level business strategy from the masters (see some of my reading list here).

The same is true for you.

Do you have time set aside to focus on big wins? Do you know what to study and how to apply it?

When I decided to grow, I stopped studying the people who were in my market. Why do I care if they make 10% more than I do? I wanted to know how multi-billion-dollar companies and CEOs do it. What questions does Jeff Bezos ask when he interviews people? How did Steve Jobs run a meeting?

I quickly learned that successful CEOs think differently than scrappy entrepreneurs. Scrappy entrepreneurs look for shortcuts and ways to get off the ground. That’s fine — they have to do that when they’re starting out.

But at a certain point, you can’t just “hustle” your way bigger. You have to completely change your thinking, your strategy, and even your team. This is what separates constantly hustling entrepreneurs…from true CEOs.

Next week, I’ll be talking about how I grew my business from a simple blog to a serious business — not just launch/launch/launch, but a strategic machine where we work on products 2-3 years in advance. Especially how I focused on CEO psychology, building a team, and business strategy. Talk to you soon.

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