Your “20% time” is the most valuable time you can spend

By January 27, 2023ISDose


What are you doing to prepare yourself for the future? This question plagues me!

Because the answers aren’t very clear, especially with the advent of ChatGPT. For years, we’ve been hearing that automation and AI will decimate the rote, boring jobs that none of us want, anyway, but we’ll be fine as long as we’re “creative” and “human.”

Alas, ChatGPT just wiped the floor with us (this is worth reading), so…apparently we’ll need a new plan. 😉

We need to thread the needle between planning for our own future and remaining nimble enough to pivot at a moment’s notice when we need to. That’s where 20% time comes in.

It’s one of the most important concepts I talk about in The Long Game – the deliberate, hard-fought choice to take time away from present-day concerns to embrace small, speculative projects that may lead nowhere. But they may also lead to your future.

For the past 7 years, I’ve been executing on a 10-year plan, using my own 20% time to learn to write musicals and – hopefully – to land a show on Broadway by the 2026 season. (My colleague Anne Sugar wrote a piece that talked about this journey in her Forbes column a while back.)

Last year, my collaborator Marie Incontrera and I had a staged reading of our show in Dallas; won second place in a national competition sponsored by NMI, a leading musical theater organization; and were named semi-finalists for the prestigious O’Neill National Music Theater Conference.

I’m trying to ‘walk the talk’ and play out in real time the hard-fought advice I’ve shared about careers and professional development. This is my 20% time in action.

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