By Ryan Burgio
Everyone’s slammed. There’s no greater threat to your business or future sanity than a jam-packed, thoughtless lifestyle. Meetings all day, working all night. No time to think. If you’re not taking the time to do any deep thinking on your vision or yourself, you’re expendable. You’re a shallow worker. You might not think you’re replaceable. You may think the work you are doing has a big impact and is necessary. You may be right. But are you the only one that can do it? Have you brought any real, deep value to your company?
Be Like Tobi
You need to fight against becoming a shallow, mediocre property. One of the best ways is inspired by a leader I admire. A recent Fortune article on Shopify’s CEO, Tobi Lutke, was interesting for a variety of reasons. But, the best part was this:
“Despite his growing workload, Lütke has remained disciplined in his pursuit of freethinking. Every quarter, he takes a week-long deep-learning retreat in which he secludes himself in office spaces around Ottawa to write code or takes a stack of books into the woods. The practice, which he calls “studio weeks,” was inspired by a practice established by musician friends.”
I love this. Shopify is a monumental success, partly because of their culture of thinking. But success can make CEOs time-strapped. They need to be able to do thinking required to stay ahead of the game. It’s when you’re hitting your successful years that you need to fight for thinking time. Better schedule some studio time.
What’s Studio Time?
Studio time is inspired by musicians and writers. Many great songs and books have been inspired by isolation and reflection. Justin Vernon wrote Bon Iver’s grammy-winning album while isolated in a hunting cabin. Gucci Mane released more mixtapes in prison than he did outside of it. Isolation spurs reflection, and we all could use a little more of it.
My Experience with Studio Time
Every year, I head up to a cottage in the Bruce Peninsula. Usually, it is just me and my wife. I bring books, magazines, a notebook, and some wine. And I think. A lot. I’ve never had a problem thinking. Put me in a room with no TV, phone, or people, and I can go pretty deep for 2 to 3 hours.
I’ve done this for 4 years now. Every time I come back reinvigorated and full of ideas. I read Creativity Inc. one year and decided that we needed to implement psychological safety and riff sessions. In 2014 I came to the realization that I was a poor manager after reading Multipliers.
How to Go Studio
Going studio is harder than you think. Here are some ground rules:
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