Don’t Make The Same Mistake Twice

Time Management 101 for Lead Dads

When we first moved to suburban Connecticut in 2008, I was able to work mainly from home but I would still go in and out of New York City for single meetings multiple times a week. Worse, I didn’t pay attention to which trains were express – meaning just a few stops before we got to mine – or local, which made dozens of stops along the way. It was a huge waste of time and made me incredibly inefficient.

Once our first daughter was born, I knew this wasn’t going to work. I drew on a memory from my student days. I remembered being in Chicago watching other graduate students make the same mistakes again and again. At the time, I called it walking naked into the pricker bush twice. It became a mantra for me, cleaned up to be: don’t make the same mistake twice.

For work, I came up with the idea to pile as many meetings as I could into a single day. While I certainly missed out on things, it made me more efficient and allowed me to manage what was going on at work, with my family and at home. Over time, the people I met with knew Thursday was my day to be in the city. And the truth is most meetings can wait a week – and if they can’t there’s always the phone. Now, not everyone has a job they can organize this way, but everyone has something in his life that he can make more efficient. I remember my wife telling me that her colleague’s husband would go to five or six supermarkets on the weekend getting various things for the week. On the one hand, it was fantastic that he loved doing the shopping. On the other hand, what a monumental waste of time. Was the cheese that much better at another store? Even if the meat and milk were cheaper, was it really less expensive when you factored in the gas and time? And he was gone for most of the afternoon, not hanging out with his kids and pissing off his wife who was stuck home alone with them. Don’t do that. Plan ahead, be efficient, value your own time. And when you make a mistake, don’t make it again.

COD Ref Code #: B-0006