How Do You Manage Your Chaos?

Let’s face it, we all get overwhelmed if not every day then multiple times during the week. When I was younger I would use this energy and adrenaline to get things done.  Maybe it worked or maybe I just thought I was performing better.  As I have matured – i.e. gotten older – I find that I can actually be more productive when I slow things down.

Right now, I am working very hard at The Startup Factory Fund II, reimagining what the Big Top recruiting platform can be with a major extension and promoting my book.  Each one of these is a beast in itself and place a lot of self-driven pressure on my internal management tools.

With these pressures front and center, I sat back and evaluated what I was doing and how effective I was.  I graded out pretty poorly in my opinion.  So I changed things up.

First and foremost was to take control of my calendar and email.  Being a slave to email is bad.  Why let others set your priorities, right? And my calendar frequently looks like a battlefield as I sit with entrepreneurs, mentors/advisors, investors, companies, recruiters, festival peeps, publishers, editors . . . . you can imagine my list.  STOP, I yelled to myself.

Focus on the 2-3 important projects and be intentional about allocating and blocking away time on my calendar.

If you are in the contemplative stage of considering a startup or recently made the move and feeling overwhelmed, take a step back every few weeks and make sure you are allocating your time to the things that move the ball forward.


Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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