I was in the airport last week waiting for a rescheduled flight after my first flight was canceled and my next was re-routed taking me over 1000 miles in the wrong direction. As I sat in the incredibly overpriced restaurant, I realized that in slightly more than five minutes, I went from being rushed to having too much time. How did this change in perception of time occur? The answer was simple; I let other things rule my time.
Whenever someone asks how I am, I respond almost by instinct that I am doing good but am very busy. What’s funny is that just about everyone else says they are busy too and wish there were more hours in the day. How can this be? I know I can rationalize that I am involved with a lot of important projects in my role as SVP of Talent at Learn.com but that’s not the right way to think. What I and the people I talk with should be pondering is whether or not all this activity is leading to the results we want.
This question caused me to look more strategically at what I am doing and ensure everything I do is contributing to the goals of the organization. There is a tool we use in organizational development called “Start, Stop, and Continue”. I looked at all the projects and compared them to the goals of the department and organization. For each project I determine whether this is something I should continue or stop. Then, when I have eliminated those that don’t contribute to moving the organization forward, I look for gaps and determine what I should start doing. This helps to narrow the field to the most important few rather than being busy with many urgent but unimportant projects.
So what are you doing that contributes to your goals, what should you stop doing, and what should you start doing to move forward faster. Hopefully, your final list will be small but critical to your success. At the same time, it should free up some time so you can do things you may enjoy but did not give yourself permission to do because of those urgent but unimportant projects you were so busy with.