“You look at his schedule sometimes and there’s a haircut. Tuesday, haircut day.”
The quote above is by Warren Buffett’s business partner, Charlie Munger, commenting on Buffett’s schedule.
Buffett says he reads around five hundred pages per day of newspapers, books, magazine articles, and annual reports. He’s designed his schedule so he can spend most of his time thinking and reading.
He runs a company valued over $600 billion at 91 years old. Whenever we think we’re too busy and need to cram more into our schedules, remember Buffett.
In fact, I regularly use the phrase, “What would Buffett do?”, when I have a difficult decision to make. Trying to emulate his rational simplicity is almost always productive.
My Move Toward a Simple Schedule
After reading and thinking a lot about how Buffett operates, I began moving toward a simpler schedule.
Most weeks, I only have one pre-scheduled meeting, Monday morning call with our executives at Amazing. I even use a paper calendar for my schedule to prevent other people from forcing meetings on my calendar, which is too easy with a digital calendar tied to your email address.
I read, think, and address problems that pop up. Currently I’m doing triage on one of my businesses which has produced poor sales performance lately. Because of my near empty schedule, I’m able to devote almost all of my time to fixing its issues.
Benefits of a Clear Calendar
I am less stressed, less overwhelmed, and more effective with fewer scheduled meetings.
Having so many scheduled appointments and meetings acts like an anchor dragging us down to places we don’t want to go each week. How many meetings on your calendar next week do you really look forward to? Likely not many.
How I Still Get Information and Coordinate with the Team
For all three of my main companies, I get a daily email report with our current cash balance and cash collected the previous day. This daily summary gives me a pulse on each business’s performance.
In the business in which I’m trying to fix our sales problem, I now get a daily new leads report as well.
For all other communication, I use ad hoc phone and video calls. When I need something, or when someone needs something from me, we jump on a quick call. This is a much better system than tons of forced meetings breaking up each day into unusable chunks.
The 30-Day Calendar Cleanse
Cancel all recurring meetings for the next 30 days. If you need time to prepare and let people know, then maybe do it for next month. Aim to also cancel any scheduled meetings not absolutely necessary.
Write down all the meetings you cancel so you can always add them back later, if you wish.
Do this for 30 days. Then, evaluate what, if anything, needs to be added back.
I did this process and only found two meetings necessary to add back: (1) our weekly executive meeting and (2) a monthly financial review meeting. Both provide a level of accountability which leads to increased performance well worth the time.
Give it a try. I think it might change your life. There’s little risk for us in trying to be a bit more like Buffett.
Here’s Bill Gates commenting on Buffett: “I also remember Warren showing me his calendar…There’s nothing on it.”
Buffett: “Absolutely….[time is] the only thing you can’t buy. I mean, I can buy anything I want, basically, but I can’t buy time.”