The importance of booking a meeting with yourself – and why it’s taken me 20 years to get there

I’m nervous this morning and wanted to share with you why that is.

I’ll be spending the majority of the day working ON my business and not IN my business.

The concept isn’t new, I first discovered Michael Gerber and The E-Myth Revisited almost 20 years ago; Strategic Coach and the “Buffer Day” back in 1993 (which I’ve adapted to a Bunker Day).

Since then I have endeavoured to have one day per week (usually a Monday) where my focus is to to think, plan and prepare, rather than Gerber’s “doing it, doing it, doing it.”

Those Mondays are often infiltrated by telephone or online calls with clients, prospects, strategic alliance partners, podcast guests, suppliers, people with new ideas and even Team CB.

That has become necessary because I spend my delivery life either in meetings or on public transport.

Whilst important, it eats away at the available planning time and, more significantly, at concentration.

In conversation last year with my business coach Rachel Turner she asked me what I would like to change about the next 5-10 years.

High on the list was a significant increase in the number of true Bunker Days – rules of engagement being no calls or interruptions before 16:00, allowing me pure thinking and research time and a chance to catch up on any genuine emergencies at the end of the day.

In October 2017, Rachel challenged me to do something about it, so we opened my calendar to spot the first opportunity.

Welcome to Day #1, some 5 months later (that’s how busy the last half a year has been).

Looking forward, it is still going to take some time to embed this new habit into my working life – the tally on these extra Bunker Days is looking like this:

  • February 2
  • March 2
  • April 1 (ouch)
  • May 3
  • June 2
  • July 4
  • August 2
  • September 4
  • October 4
  • November 4
  • December 4

So you can see that my target was 4 days a month (in addition to my existing Mondays) and that it is actually going to have taken me the best part of a year to get that embedded into my working life.

You could equally argue that it has taken me 20 years to make that decision, perhaps previously I was too scared to do it, that “got to pay the bills” syndrome that we all experience when the kids are growing up.

Most people on approach to age 65 are thinking about slowing down or stopping.

I’m simply thinking about thinking.

I have a new business idea (a variation on the coaching theme) that has been rattling around in my mind for a long time.

Today I’ll be beginning the research process on that idea.

I have a book to read that arrived from Amazon last week.

I have some blogs and newsletters that I’ve been collecting on the idea.

I’ll be looking at a project in Asana that I created around this idea last October and I haven’t looked at since.

I’ll be checking in with my coach later today to se how it’s going.

Why am I nervous?

Like a dentist with a gap in her diary, my internal voice is screaming at me “get to work – see some people – do some delivery – get paid!”

Nervous? Yes.

Excited? Yes.


Published by

Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

One thought on “The importance of booking a meeting with yourself – and why it’s taken me 20 years to get there”

  1. I totally agree Chris that your ‘bunker days’ are a great idea.
    At the moment I don’t have my own business (although it is on my professional agenda) but I think that ‘bunker days’ should be recommended for employed staff too. Personally, Dental Nursing was only ever meant to be a job to earn some money until I could decide what I really wanted to do ‘when I grow up’.
    26 years later, still on the same treadmill of Dental Nursing, it took a short episode of diagnosed work related stress to consider what would make me happy professionally. The forced time off work without the distraction of school holidays and things you do when your not at work made me have a serious rethink. As I enter the second half of my working life, for the first time I am completely focused on what I want to do and how I am going to achieve it. I have just commenced an BA in HR Management and Psychology to give me the knowledge and the credentials to achieve my professional dream. Looking back, I needed a ‘bunker’ day, without distractions, to be deep in thought to decided where I was going to go with my Nursing Skills. For the first time in 26 years, I have never been so positive about my future. Bunker Day’s are an absolute MUST

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