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Fuck the rat race: How my new “thinking hour” rule increased our company’s revenue and more

Locked down

Like for most nomads, quarantine came as a total surprise (no shit) that fucked all my plans up and smashed the sweet nomadic lifestyle. I found myself locked down in a nice loft apartment in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, where I had barely spent any time before, as I was constantly traveling back and forth on a rollercoaster between business meetings, conferences, and airports.

The first two weeks were a nightmare. I felt like an addict that had gone cold turkey and suddenly started sinking into depression and despair. Then somehow I began to adapt to my new reality.

The absence of the necessity to plan any upcoming trips allowed me to set up a fairly consistent schedule. I organized my daily plans by marking the calendar with all possible activities for the day, including simple stuff like meals and yoga. I still had a few free time slots available each day, so I marked them as “thinking hours”.

New “thinking hour” rule

The idea behind “thinking hours” is quite simple. You focus on one problem or question that bothers you or requires a decision and focus your thoughts on that. You don’t allow yourself to be distracted by anything else. All your mental effort goes to one particular thingy. At first, it may seem like you are stuck, and nothing has changed, but exactly at this point, you need to keep thinking. Eventually, your brain will start to get creative and will look for new perspectives on the issue, generating insights.

Thinking and making decisions appeared to be fucking hard work. It’s a lot of effort! In a while, I discovered that incorporating “thinking hours” into my daily routine helped me to get good results quite quickly.

Here’s the list of things I’ve accomplished over the past 5 months:

  • Raised investment round for our main business (yes, all done remotely via Zoom)
  • Grew our team by ~35% and increased our projected revenue for 2020 by ~25%
  • Launched the development of two new products (one within our Atmotube project and the second one within our design-house notAnotherOne).
  • Made an outline of our own art car (a.k.a mutant vehicle) for the next Burning Man. Trust me, it will be sick!

What stopped me from achieving all of this before slowing down? One thing: a lack of FOCUS.

I realized all this time taken by constant traveling, changing flights, hotels, getting visas, and getting used to new neighborhoods is all mine now. And it also can be constructive.

Don’t get me wrong. My nomadic life is badass (ya’ll know what I’m talking about). Would I be even more productive staying in one place forever? Hell no!

All those plans and ideas had been stewing up in my head during a constant shift of the environments and meetings with amazing people who I got to learn from. Many of those ideas had been waiting patiently before I slowed down and took the time to create a clear plan on how to make them a reality. Once you have a recipe, start cooking.

Badass interactions


Another thing I’ve noticed was a shift in interaction with people that have also contributed to my lockdown results. The amount of f2f meetings with friends had gone down to almost zero. Our conversations grew longer, deeper, and more meaningful with those who bossed up with a gain of focus, too.


So, maybe all we need every now and then is to stop hustling around, get out of the rat race and focus on important?

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Written by Vera Kozyr


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