I’m up at 4:15 to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Chicago. There was a time when that would have sounded ridiculous to me, but I’ve been doing it a lot over the past few years. The more I travel, the more I’ve tried to optimize it so that it doesn’t interrupt my work day. The good thing about flying this early is that there’s very little chance my flight will be delayed and I’ll get to Chicago just as the work day is starting for everyone else.
Sometimes I’ll go back to sleep on the plane, but this time I need to do work. Based on an email I received overnight, my client in India is concerned about whether they’ll have the capacity for what we’re recommending. I spend about an hour or so I modifying some assumptions and recalculating a model we’ve created. Then I replot some charts until the landing announcement comes on. Working on the plane is great provided the person in front of me doesn’t recline, and this time I get lucky. From the airport I take the train downtown which gives me another 40 minutes of focused time. By the time I’ve reached my destination, the problem has been taken care of.
I’m in Chicago for two days this week to meet with two Chicago-based clients. Our biggest office also happens to be in the city, and most of my immediate team members work there, so I always extend my visits by a day or so to work with them. I’m in the office early this morning and start by following up on project accounting with the head of operations, who also happens to sit here. Then I work on a couple of proposals we’re putting together and send them off while it’s still relatively early.
I spend the rest of the morning working with our newest team member, who just joined a month earlier. She has more varied interests and degrees than I did when I started, so naturally I think she’s going to do great. We talk about a couple of new projects that are starting up, and I try to prepare her for the onslaught. We also go over one of the methods we use – an observational study – to measure how organizations work. Lastly, it’s performance review time, and while my new team member is too new to be subjected to a review, we talk about what goals to set for next year.
After lunch, I sit down with an extended project team that I’m working with to create and study a workplace pilot – basically a test area within a large multi-national company that about 100 employees will be working in for 3 months. This is about the closest thing to pure research I’ve done since starting my career, so I’m very excited. We talk about the design of the space and how we’re going to observe and survey the employees in it.
I spend the rest of the afternoon preparing for tomorrow’s client meetings while half-watching a World Cup game. It’s about 6 when the game ends and the office starts to empty out. I stay a little longer responding to a request from yet another client. After modifying some numbers and updating a PowerPoint, I head down the block to my hotel for the night.