How Paul Graham Works
Maker and manager time
In this newsletter we will attempt to deconstruct how legendary investor and entrepreneur Paul Graham structures his day. As you read it, consider how you spend your time. Remember how you do anything is how you do everything. Being too busy is a way of laziness. It is admitting that you have lost track of the few priorities that are likely to augment your personal happiness and professional impact.
If you are always on the go, it means that you have lost time for deep reflection and analysis. The effect of this is evident in the medium to long term. Even if you are able to get stuff done today, there is no guarantee that you will be ready for the job in the years to come.
A CEO typically typically has 7 years to galvanize things(if s/he survives the grind). At the 7 year mark, s/he has to take a call - move on, reinvent or get forced out. No matter what the answer is, being in the hyperactive implementation mode does not work.
Paul Graham’s simple mental model is a useful insight for us as we think about managing our present and future careers. Without the short term, there is no long term. If you don’t survive, there is nothing to salvage. However, obsessing over short term can leave you depleted. Your time could be lost with the death of a thousand cuts - tiny distractions that compound over time and leave you stressed and unprepared for the future.
With that context, lets dive into Paul Graham’s work life.