Last week, I went to Tokyo to speak at ad:tech. 20 hours of air travel so I could be there for about 48 hours. I worked on the plane, both ways. Everyone around me sneezed and phlegmed like there was no tomorrow. I was exhausted while in Tokyo, exhausted when I got back on Saturday, and, as it turned out, got badly dehydrated.
Sunday morning I started having pain in my right side. Within about 30 minutes, it went from ‘ouch’ to me curled up in a ball on the bed, unable to move. After another 2 hours of that, my wife drove me to the emergency room. Diagnosis? Kidney stone (likely due to dehydration).
By the way, on the pain scale, a kidney stone hurts about 2x worse than a ruptured spinal disk, 8x worst than a torn ligament, and at least 100000x worse then a slap in the face. It’s like having an Alien tunneling out of you, but you don’t die. It just keeps going. I don’t recommend it.
I literally worked myself sick. Not achoo sick, but run-to-the-ER, IV-in-arm, time-for-a-CAT-scan sick.
Three days later, I’m somewhat mobile, eating again and feeling basically OK, but pretty far from ‘fine’. I can only work about a 2/3 day before getting tired or starting to hurt again.
I’ve also gotten sick at 2 of the last 4 conferences I’ve gone to.
OK. I can take a hint.
I juggle a lot
Professionally, I juggle a lot of stuff: This blog, the Fat Free Guide, e-book writing and, of course, Portent – my company. That last takes up 90% of my time.
Personally, I juggle a lot, too: I do my best to not be one of those CEO parents the kids never see.
But burning the candle at 6 ends at once only gets you so far. And the most successful folks I know don’t work 90 hour weeks. They work 50 hour weeks. Otherwise they don’t last.
Clearly, my approach isn’t working. So, what to do?
My sanity pledge
- I’m not going to give any stuff up. I enjoy it all immensely.
- I am going to recruit my fellow Portent-ites to write on Conversation Marketing, and for the Fat Free Guide, so I’m under less pressure there.
- As Chris Brogan said last week, I’m going to pay myself first.
- I’m going to start projects I can finish, and not start ones that will hang over me.
- I’m going to focus more on teaching and less on doing. No smart-ass remarks, please. This is about personal scalability. If I can get 10 people around me to handle 10% of my job, I’m way better off.
- From now on, if you want me to fly more than 7 hours to speak at a conference, you’ll be pitching in on a business-class ticket. Sounds spoiled, but I have to sleep/rest somewhere.
- I’ll be focusing on task management. I already do zero inbox and the like, but only sporadically.
- I’ll be taking more advantage of my great staff, and all the ways they can help me get more done.
- Oh, yeah: I’ll be drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day, in hopes of drowning any kidney stones.
I’m cynical and sarcastic, and I poke fun at myself. But I’m not a huge fan of putting personal drama on display. So this post pushes things a bit farther than usual for me. I’m not fishing for sympathy or anything else. I am pretty sure that, by publishing this, I’ll ensure that I hold myself to it, ’cause if I don’t, someone’s going to probably yell at me.
Back to normal tomorrow…