Twenty or so years ago, a well-seasoned and successful business associate of mine gave me some free advice. The advice was to fill my workday so that it was only 2/3 full and leave 1/3 open for the unknown. At first, I felt that this type of scheduling was unproductive, but I quickly learned that it was essential to running a successful company.
Imagine a day filled with back-to-back meetings and calls and the action items that would come because of them. If your day is filled, when will you get to returning subsequent calls, writing proposals, fulfilling requests, answering questions, running the day to day operations of your company, putting out fires or even take on new business? The answer to that would be to work 60 hours a week, and if you work 60 hours a week, stress will increase, and quality would decrease.
If you work by the 2/3 full-rule, you will dramatically increase the quality of your service and decrease your stress.
I have a fish bowl on my desk with a goldfish in it (company mascot), and if I fill the bowl with water to the very top, it will overflow if I added anything to it. I wouldn't be able to add another fish or move around the pebbles, and the fish would have to swim very carefully without making any quick movements. Otherwise, everything would spill over. If I keep the bowl 2/3 full, then there is room for the fish to swim freely and room to add others.
Athena Taddei, President
Little Fish Big Pond Inc.