To get to the heart of today’s lesson, you need to understand a founder’s first days full‐time.
It’s an exhilarating moment on a person’s life, to be untethered from a system of what some consider to be slavery. Waking up on that first day, you open your eyes and greet the day with an intense joy, tinged with fear.
You don’t have to get up and get dressed. You don’t have to go anywhere.
No longer are you going to be fighting 40 minutes of traffic to get to work, facing known costs of parking and lunch and coffees.
No longer are you going to be getting home after 6 pm, exhausted, but not having done anything that you truly wanted to be doing.
Today, this day, is like the day after you finished Year 12. You have an incredible sense of freedom, and an incredible sense of openness. The future is entirely up to you.
Yes, you. In your absolute joy and excitement, you say yes to everything.
You’ve got coffee meetings booked all day every day; networking events in the morning; networking events at night. In your first month you luck into some work, and that keeps you housed and fed. Buoyed by some small — but real — wins, you keep saying yes to everything.
You might even be writing about it. Suddenly, work feels like play; and all those evenings you used to have, switching your brain off in front of the telly, are being used for work.
Nobody else in your life gets it. But they don’t need to. You’re on a mission to take over the world, and come Hell or High Water, you are going to do it.
Work isn’t work when you love what you do, you parrot to people who marvel at your capacity for endless work, endless happiness, and disappearing desire for sleep. Instead, you devour every book you see, on business, and communication, and sales, and startups. Your new mantra is hustle, and hustle you do.
Then one day, you wake up and feel kind of empty. Looking at your diary, a welling feeling of anxious disastrousness threatens to bubble up from your gut and overwhelm you. Looking at your diary and your bank balance all at once, you feel like crying. So, instead, you cancel all your meetings and stay in bed. You stay there all day, you don’t talk to anyone, and you feel like your world is ending.
Can you actually keep kidding yourself that you can do this?
Now, take a deep breath. It’s intense stuff.
When you feel like you can publish new material very often — we’re talking more than twice per week — I want you to look for reasons why you should not do this. Write them all down.
You’ll find yourself with a mix of answers. Some will look like risk mitigation; some like whiny bitch reasons; some pure laziness. Every single one of them is valid, because when you’re at the end of your rope, being rational is not on the cards.
Now, ask yourself: What does this mean, for how my business structures its publishing?
It’s fun to chase shiny things, to get enthusiastic, to say yes to every idea that comes your way. But if you’re not careful, you’ll burn out.
A production calendar stops you burning out by giving you a meaningful cadence, and the chance to consider way in advance whether or not it’s feasible. It captures your excited, founder’s shiny‐pretty‐things‐chasing tendency, and channels it into a useful form.
A geyser is fun to look at; but a well cared‐for river will keep you hydrated. And that is the role of the production calendar in your life.