Every March, Randi Zuckerberg goes on a spring break. Last year she went to New York; the year before she went to Tokyo. But unlike your standard vacation, Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media (and sister of Facebook CEO Mark), spends little time relaxing. Instead, she uses the time to focus exclusively and intensely on one project. This year she spent the month of March on Broadway, performing in Rock of Ages. In Tokyo, she holed up with her family to work on her book Dot Complicated.
"I understand this is not realistic for everyone to do," the former Facebooker told Fast Company. "I call it my deep-dive creative month."
The idea, she says, came from Facebook's hackathons, marathon coding events where engineers work on crazy ideas and passion projects. "There is something about that intense focus," she said. "When you sit someone down and say you have 12 hours to crank something out, you see these amazing projects." Her March deep dive takes that general principle and explodes it into a month-long work-a-thon.
During the month she takes "monotasking" to an extreme, dedicating her time and energy to one thing. The end result is the satisfaction of having finished something ambitious. "I love the idea that there is a goal and a very tangible completion of that goal or not," she said. If Zuckerberg hadn't forced herself to pump out the book in a single month, she would still be working on the book in 30-minute installments. Instead, after a month in Japan she had a manuscript and the rest of the year to edit and promote. It also leaves her time to dedicate to other aspects of her career throughout the year. (Zuckerberg, for example, will now host a Sirius XM radio show as part of her growing media empire.)
Spending an entire month on something not directly related to one's job isn't something most people can do. "I know that I'm in a special kind of field where I work for myself, I have clients and flexibility," Zuckerberg added. But anyone can benefit from moments of intense concentration—even if it doesn't last for an entire month. For those with stricter schedules, she says even a weekend will help people accomplish tasks. Some people even do a variation of this on a daily scale, blocking off chunks of the day in hours for just email, or sans technology.
If you do have the luxury of taking off an entire month, Zuckerberg recommends March. "[It's] the worst month of the year because you just come off of the holidays and it's such a long stretch until the summer." Heading to Broadway, for example, brings some excitement into a dull time of year.
[Image: Flickr user U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Juan King, Released]