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Writing and the constraints of time

Lately, I have been reading the legendary philanthropist, Bill Gate’s personal blog, which is called Gates Notes. How is he writing so often? He is so prolific in talking about his work and experiences and I wonder where he finds the time – considering the sheer demands on his time.

Bill Gates writing on a Surface tablet computer

Given his position, I am sure I am less busy than Bill Gates and I have a certain attitude when reviewing my schedule and perks. I will not fly first class or business class generally because I will find myself sitting among people who have achieved so much more than me and who have the kind of disposable income that make such travel easy.

In addition, I will never claim to be busy considering that people who are more senior than me manage their time and other resources to make sure that they make the time to do that which I claim to be too busy to do. How can I compare? How dare I compare.

In previous posts like this one, I gave targeted to write more, but I have always allowed myself to be caught up under the guise of being busy.

Lessons from my mentor

I remember years ago, I used to meet my mentor on a regular basis for coffee to discuss many things – not least of which was my progress. I always found her already seated in the restaurant, drinking her signature cappuccino by the time I arrived – filled with excuses about traffic and such. My mentor built a business from scratch that by that time had grown to be active in 22 African countries and that had a valuation of almost a billion shillings at the time. She employed more than a hundred people and had clients who I could not imagine ever meeting.

And I would arrive after her every time.

One day, it occurred to me to feel the shame that I should have already been feeling. Who the hell do I think I am to keep a distinguished and accomplished person waiting, yet they had made time for my benefit? My mentor was not going to miss anything if we did not meet for that coffee – but I certainly would! How dare I? From that day, I made sure I was early to every meeting. When she arrived, she found that I had pre-ordered her cappuccino so that it would land on the table as soon as she sat.

I was never late again – not once in more than a decade.

The virtues of writing

More recently, I have been teaching some of my mentees and staff the virtues of writing frequently – as a means to getting better at communications, organising ideas in such a way that they persuade the world and also as a means to building their own brands.

“Write every day,” I admonish them, “regardless of what your schedule looks like. Don’t claim to be busy, make time for it.” I explain that if you have never been writing, the only way that you get good at it is by writing every day.

Yesterday, I took on the challenge of writing every day regardless of how crazy my schedule gets. This way, I can show them that it is possible to write every day and still be effective in your everyday work.

“If you are learning, if you are thinking, then you can write.”

Me.

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Also published on Medium.

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