Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

The Antifragile Schedule


Ever since I read the book Antifragile from the Author of the Black Swan, the idea penetrates my thinking more regularly.  Today I’m thinking about an antifragile calendar. As my family begins the new schedule of summer fun with the kids being out of school, I’m hunting for time to enjoy it with them. And it’s a tricky hunt.

Since we’ve launched the Atlanta Tech Village and a host of other programs, companies, and ideas that have come along with it, the amount of interest from the community has only accelerated week by week. My requests for meetings is at an all time high, which also means my calendar is booked at an all time density. The problem is that I have never been happier with how I spend my days. I’m doing more of what I’m doing because I “can’t not” do it.  Brad Feld just had a great post about his inability to moderate. I’m with him.  This ATV idea and all that surrounds it is an all-in movement for me.

However, it’s ironic that I’m trying to set the example for other entrepreneurs of keeping work/life balance by writing about being intentional.  I’ve realized that this calendar insanity has creeped up on me where now it needs to be addressed.  The cool thing about all this is the Antifragile angle:

It’s easy to have a work/life balance when work is easy or life is boring.

It’s easy to take a day or two a week and schedule fun activities for the kids when your company is in cruise control, the pace of creation has slowed down, and you are out of ideas. If you have ideas and passion, and BURN: you won’t find moderation naturally desirable.

To remind you of the definition of antifragile, it is when things become stronger as they are exposed to stress. Where fragile is on one end of the spectrum, robust is in the middle, and antifragile is on the other end. Robust means you stand up to the stress and are resilient. Antifragile means you become better. Stronger. The more stress you put on something, the more resilient it becomes.  Like wind on a forest fire.

If you are building a company and a family at the same time. If you think that both are delicious and you can’t get enough, then you have the situation to become antifragile.  Don’t let the friction stress you out or cause worry. Just be intentional about your calendar and take satisfaction in your personal development.

My takeaways from this thinking means a few practical actions:

  • Saying “sorry but no thanks” to more meetings. I hate doing this. It’s the hardest thing for me to do.
  • Admitting to people that it may be 3-6 weeks before we can find a time on the calendar. It’s ok, there’s usually no rush.
  • Keeping some time unscheduled on the work calendar so unscheduled meetings can actually happen and the rare time sensitive meetings have a place to land.
  • Taking advantage of no drop off routine for school in the summer and going in earlier for breakfast meetings instead of evening meetings.
  • Prioritizing and delegating. Deciding that I don’t have to do all the meetings myself and there is an awesome talented staff already running the Village.
  • Schedule our weekend father-son trips with both of my sons. Max is 5 now, so he knows he now qualifies for this benefit.
  • Scheduling one full day per week for kid activities for the next two months.
  • Scheduling two weeks of chill time at Dog Island, back-to-back.

It’s a great feeling to know that as the stress is added to my balance, I’m able to add even more good balance to it.  Hopefully nothing blows up in all this. :)



Category: Action, Efficiency, Ideas
  • David Felfoldi says:

    Excellent post. What you call anti fragile I call an Intentional Schedule. Key to it is carving things off as sacred – family dinners, weekends, vacations. For me, it is also proper sleep 4 of the 5 business days (I’m 100% effective on 9 hours, and drop 15% every hour less…and clients aren’t paying me to be at 65% after cramming for a meeting).

    What is left? A schedule that makes availability decisions for you based on your true priorities.

    May 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm
    • Johnson Cook says:

      Sherpa, you schedule your sleep!? Get outta here! That’s actually a good idea.

      May 30, 2013 at 4:00 pm

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