Creative time

Those of you who know me know that I’m an early riser. I wake up at around 6 AM. Meetings rarely begin before 9 AM so this gives me 3 hours of free time.

I spend about a total of 45 minutes showering, dressing, and getting to the location of my first meeting. I spend another 45 minutes catching up on urgent emails from the night before. It’s now 7:30 AM and this leaves me with a good 90 minutes of time. Since everyone else is busy waking up, having breakfast, and driving during this time, there are rarely any interruptions.

These 90 minutes are when I’m most creative. I don’t have any particular agenda during this time and I just see what I feel like doing.

Sometimes I choose to think about the market and use cases for a new startup I’m evaluating. This isn’t the structured and rigorous investment checklist review, financial and KPI analysis, or reference checking which are also part of a startup’s evaluation, but rather an unconstrained journey where I let my imagination roam. I try to picture how different people might use a startup’s current product and how the product may evolve in the future.

If I have a learning from a meeting, a product I used, something I read, or another source that I want to articulate better I might choose to write a blog post about it. Writing helps me structure my current thoughts while also helping my future thoughts arrive in a more structured manner.

And sometimes I pick one of our existing startups and try to place myself in the shoes of the founder. I imagine what the top 3 pressing issues they must be thinking about are, and how I can help them address these issues. Sometimes I shoot them an email with an idea, or identify a potential business partner and ask them if they’d like to meet.

Although these 90 minutes aren’t my most productive in terms of the number of things I get done, they’re very productive when I measure the long-term value generated by the thoughts that I have during this time. If you’re looking to be more creative, I strongly recommend that you set aside at least an hour of uninterrupted time each day and just let your mind roam.

Also published on Medium.