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This Week in Procurement

TWIP: Free Days for Everyone!

By February 9, 2018June 25th, 2023No Comments

Dear Catalysts,

Happy Friday!

It has been a week of birthdays in the Ideson household.  Earlier in the week, our youngest, Aidan, turned 2, and yesterday, I hit the big 4-0.

Making Choices

In planning my week, I made a conscious choice to spend time celebrating with my family and take a hiatus from seeking out and consuming professional or procurement related content.

Leaving a Mark

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. – Benjamin Franklin

As catalysts, we know we can either hold on to our rationalizations or we can be results producers. Yes, these two ways of being are mutually exclusive. In pursuit of results there seems always to be a business relationship I want to nurture, an email to respond to, or a fire to fight. Compound that with today’s always-on environment, and it is easy to lose sight of the need to decompress; to take care of our wellbeing (mental and physical) and the wellbeing of those around us.

A results producer is neither a superman nor an “energizer bunny.”

Being a catalyst means deliberate, thoughtful and strategic use of our resources. Our most important resource? Time.

And we are the only ones who get to choose how we allocate our time.

I was recently introduced to a time management concept that breaks time into three containers: Focus DaysTM, Buffer DaysTM and Free DaysTM. According to Dan Sullivan (Founder of Strategic Coach and creator of the Entrepreneurial Time System®), Free DaysTM are a critical part of the time system he specifically designed for high-achieving entrepreneurs and must come first. This runs contrary to most thinking, where one works until exhausted and then takes a weekend off or goes on vacation because one “deserves” it!

Quoting Dan, “Rejuvenating Free Days are a necessary precondition for periods of high productivity and creativity. [So, d]oesn’t it make more sense to take rejuvenating Free Days before a period that you know will need your best thinking and action?

Make no mistake, taking Free DaysTM is a skill and one that requires cultivation and deliberate practice. The key to getting the most out of having a 24-hour period free from work related thinking and activities is to schedule it in advance. Be ready, also, to protect the heck out of it — every time I put a Free DayTM in my calendar I am sorely tested to either steal a few hours from it or postpone it entirely.

Each step I take in the direction of investing in my favorite and most important asset (myself!) by scheduling and experiencing a Free DayTM, I am rewarded with increased productivity and greater enjoyment both at home and at work.

(Please note, AOP has no affiliation with Strategic Coach or this system.)

Generating Fulfillment

Some questions to ponder:

  • What are my three most important opportunities over the next 90 days?
  • Am I allocating my time and attention in a way that allows me to take full advantage of those opportunities?
  • How am I holding myself accountable to my vision?
  • Is my calendar helping or hurting me invest my time productively and sustainably?
  • What is one action I can take to improve my relationship with family and friends?

Being a Catalyst 

Have you come across an article, whitepaper, video or podcast that you would like to share with your fellow catalysts, please send a quick email with the details. I read every email and am eager to read yours.

This Week in Procurement

My guest on the Art of Procurement this week was my friend Johan-Peter, or JP, Teppala.  JP is the CEO of the US operations of Sievo, a Finland-based procurement analytics company, encompassing spend analysis, spend forecasting, savings management and contract management.

The core of our conversation today focuses on how procurement can be the driver of what JP termed “radical transparency” through data.

We discuss three key themes:

  • Transparency through spend analysis
  • Transparency through realized savings
  • Transparency through predictive analytics.

In my mind, these are core building blocks for any catalytic procurement organization.  It is hard to make a mark without good data.

Tables Turned 

Back in December I was interviewed by another procurement podcaster, Robert Freeman. (He was inspired by AOP to get his show out into the world!) It went live this week. We had a wide ranging conversation on several topics:

  • The biggest challenges facing today’s Procurement professionals
  • The critical skills we need to develop and cultivate to remain relevant and valuable
  • The role of technology in Procurement
  • The Procurement community: how we can benefit from the expertise and experience of one another

Until next time,


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