An issue that is important to me and that has been rekindled in me by Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism is how we equate busyness and the accomplishment of our to-do list as productivity. As I have noted before, our US culture rewards and values the busy person who is skilled at multitasking (which is a lie as well) and whose calendar is filled with one meeting after another with no room to even breathe much less think. For some reason, we define this as being “productive”.
As I noted in an earlier blog, this could be one form of laziness, for some people it is all they know, and for many of us, it is the behavior that is functionally valued and rewarded in our organizations. However, often the greatest value to the organization are the people who take time to think deeply and to wrestle with the core issues or challenges facing the organization. Those people who are digging to find the root cause(s) and to develop long-term solutions to those problems. People who are concerned that they are working on the “one thing” that will tip the scales in whatever endeavor they are working on. These people are the ones that often bring the most value to an organization, but unfortunately, in most of our organizations they are seen as “unproductive” as they are not rushing around and attending many meetings. They are often just thinking. Yet, given the chance, they are the ones that solve the biggest problems or develop game-changing innovations.
So, maybe, just maybe, we have a wrong definition of productivity. And just maybe it’s time to change the definition,
Have a great weekend!
Good Monday morning! I have been in Mississippi last week speaking at the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy. Each year a group of next generation leaders for the state community colleges are run through a full year of the MCCLA to prepare them for future senior leadership roles in the community colleges. A pretty good idea in my estimation.
What is the One Thing that you need to focus on for the greatest impact in your life? I have found the book The ONE Thing to be an excellent tool to help me focus. Watch the video and check out the book and let me know what you think.
Good Monday morning to you! Hope you had a great Independence Day. We certainly did – it was a nice 4-day weekend with all of our family here at the house, so a nice and relaxing time. Although we did eat a tad too much!!
Do you wonder why it is that you seem so busy, but when you look back on your day or week, you don’t feel that you have been productive? Could it be that you are working on tasks vs. priorities?
Gary covers a lot of ground about how we allow ourselves to be distracted by busyness and then gives you a simple and profound way to become more effective. He has a question he calls the Focusing Question:
What is the ONE THING I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
That’s what he calls the “Big Picture” question which he then follows up with “What’s my one thing right now?”, which is what he calls “Small Focus”. Asking these two questions brings you back to priorities and should cause you to work to priorities. When you ask yourself those two questions daily, you begin to work day-to-day on your priorities and the result is incredible effectiveness.
Of course it seems simple – and it is relatively so. But it is HARD. You have to break old habits and develop new ones. You have to go against work cultures that say they want productivity, but seem to reward busyness. Simple yes, easy no.
But it is worth it! You have but this one life – are you living it to priorities, or are you content to just be busy every day? It is YOUR choice.
Blessings on you week!