The Difference Between Head Space and Time // And Why Entrepreneurs Pay More Attention to Detail Than They Get Credit For

I’ve noticed that I’ve been lying to people by accident. I’ve been telling them “I don’t have enough time” for things. In reality, that’s probably wrong.

Looking back at my week, I’ve watched TV, written this blog post, gone out to drinks with friends and volunteered by doing resume reviews and mock interviews at Let’s Get Ready. I even got to bed by 9 pm one night. I did have time for those other things.

But I didn’t have enough head space.

Andy Ellwood recently showed me this post by Mark Manson, and the following quote stood out to me:

“To not give a fuck about adversity, you must first give a fuck about something more important than adversity.”

Wow, so dead on. While the quote is funny because it uses the word “fuck” in it, it’s 100% true that “giving fucks” about things that don’t matter only takes away head space, and head space is probably even more of a limiting factor than time is.

We spend so much time trying to save time, and optimize the amount of hours we have in the day, but we don’t spend enough time trying to limit the amount of things we need to think about.

Entrepreneurs often get made fun of for ignoring details, but this is a totally incorrect notion. They are just so busy paying attention to every single detail about their #1 priority, that they don’t have enough head space left to pay attention to the details of anything else.

The nature of running a business is that you have to be kinda paying attention to everything, but this is why playing the game of allocating head space is so important. And managing head space is probably harder than managing time. Time can be managed by a calendar, but head space is managed by will power.

It takes will power to not let a pissed off employee or customer take up head space, especially if that head space needs to be focused on fundraising or making a new sale. It takes will power to ignore macro events you can’t control, but that can sometimes control you.

Great entrepreneurs pay just as much attention to the details as everyone else, they just spend almost no time paying attention to the details of anything that isn’t priority 1, 2 or 3. And in that focus they can elicit great outputs.

So the game becomes two-fold:

(1) Get good at picking what those priorities are going to be

(2) Get good at ignoring everything that isn’t one of those mother fucking priorities

[5'9", ~170 lbs, male, New York, NY]. I blog about investing. And usually about things I’ve learned the hard way. Opinions are my own, not CoVenture’s

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