The secret to parenting is structure. I only know this anecdotally, as I remain blissfully childless, but when I think about how I would raise a child, I can’t help being reminded of the job White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is doing with the president.
Part of Kelly’s job, it seems, is micromanaging the schedule of Donald Trump, America’s Big Boy. We all remember how when Kelly first arrived in summer 2017, POTUS soon began “acting sharper in meetings and even rattling off stats.” Finally! Stats! What a fresh change of pace for the adult-shaped president, who, months before, had White House aides scrambling to keep him busy with meetings on certain days, so he wouldn’t watch TV and tweet. (“But if he wants to watch it, it’s not like we can say, ‘Oh, the TV doesn’t work,'” said one official who is definitely at peace with their chosen path.)
As much as Trump has (not) blossomed under Kelly’s tough-love taskmastery, his schedule is still chock-a-block with Executive Time, those nebulously defined periods throughout the day when the president, age 72, can watch TV, tweet, and phone friends on his unprotected cell phone, without the burden of having to do President Stuff. In order to curb the freedom of Executive Time, however, Kelly and the White House have reportedly instituted Policy Time, a temporal toddler leash aimed at keeping Trump on track, against towering odds.
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) November 13, 2018
Inspired by this bold take on leadership, my Fast Company editors have begun to institute similar strictures on my time to help keep me focused on each task at hand. [Editor’s note: At this point, the author wandered off, drank not one but two cans of seltzer, and played Fortnite for 45 minutes before attempting to concentrate on work anew.] Below is a list of my new Trump-inspired schedule, designed to keep this writer poised for success.
3:14 a.m. Propped Up on Elbow Reading Twitter Time
In order to be as full of potential story ideas as possible, I’m required to begin the day surveying world news events the moment I wake up–which, like the president, is disturbingly early.
9:30 a.m. Reflection Time
This is when my editors show me praise from people who think I’m doing a good job–just like the president of the United States! It’s the peanut butter that makes the medicine of the next part of my day go down smoother.
11 a.m. Do the News Time
Starting at 11 a.m.–also like the president!–I’m good and ready to do the news. This is pretty much the rest of my work day, except for the times noted below.
1 p.m. Meetings Time
Grrr, meetings! What can I say, folks, they’re bad. And don’t get me started on Mondays . . .
2 p.m. Snack Time
Because I wake up at what some might call a debilitatingly early hour, I have already consumed lunch by 10 a.m. each day without fail. Once Meetings Time is over, however, my editors kindly reward me with treats–which I invariably turn into a double-reward by also yelling about my enemies inside the snack room, where there’s no one to stop me!
7 p.m. (give or take) Executive Time
I am finally free. Weirdly, though, Executive Time looks a lot like Propped Up on Elbow Reading Twitter Time.