One Sunday in December, my building shook, not because of the city street cleaning truck or the rambunctious French Bulldog who lives upstairs. The building shook when France tied Argentina in the World Cup. I couldn’t help but Fubo the game and participate in the 26-million- person worldwide viewing roller coaster ride.

As business leaders decide how their companies are going to forge ahead into the new year, I can’t help but make a direct correlation between what the world calls Messi Magic, strategic business planning, and time management. Messi spends 85% of his time walking around surveying the field and identifying opportunities, and only 15% of the time will you find Messi moving at high speeds with the ball. In the article The Genius of Lionel Messi Just Walking Around, Jody Rosen describes the soccer principal that is Messi Magic and its results:

“When you learn to bifurcate your brain, keeping an eye on the main action while devoting equal or greater attention to what’s happening off the ball, the game opens up to you.”

In business, this principle unquestionably applies too. Working in your business — or keeping an eye on the ball — includes the everyday activities which make the business run and produce revenue, like making your product, delivering your service, and executing your sales and marketing.

If working in your business equates to keeping an eye on the ball, working on your business involves attending to what’s happening off the ball – the bigger picture tasks of designing and planning, research and development, alliances and partnerships, and scaling and growth.

Regardless of your athletic prowess or World Cup fanship, I believe there’s a powerful lesson here: attending to what’s happening off the ball, working on your business, and observing the pitch are key elements to success.

Certainly, it doesn’t make sense to work on a business if there isn’t much of a business to work on. Early on, 85% of time will be spent on day-to-day activities, and 15% will be spent planning big goals and thinking about the future. Over time, the proportion of time spent working on and in your business changes as the company grows.

Most notably, the magic of Messi Magic is knowing when to walk or run. It is thoughtfully leveraging your experience and consciously allocating time to improve continually.

Finally, Messi Magic is knowing when to pause, even momentarily, to take a walk, reflect, and appreciate the past year’s successes (and failures) to ensure long-term business success and personal well-being.

Do you believe in the power the walk? Let’s discuss below!

Happy Holidays!

Julia Anthony
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