I am testimony to the fact how one is overloaded with work, which never seems to end. No matter how much one tries to settle with zero work on their plate at the end of the day, we just seem to be getting that one notification of a new mail or a meeting alert when we are all set to excitedly wind up for the day.
We make all the plan for a much-awaited weekend – but it just seems to wither away with a mounting to-do list, even for the weekend. In our quest to reply to every message, every query, every question, we think we are quick and proactive, but the reality is: we are running too fast to actually understand why we are in this rut at the very first place.
We hustle (because we have to) – only to realize that our hard work is not rewarded. (Yes, it happens – most of the times.) We make a strategic plan of action for the next day to start with full gusto and vigor – only to see that some unexpected tasks come our way and we miss our deadlines. We attend 6 sales meetings a day, make the minutes and present our plan – only to find that we miss the nuances – those little things – which the prospect mentioned in the meeting. (We just slip by). Oh wait – you also have your lunch time and that is booked for your cold e-mails and new networking messages. Now this is a classic recipe of speed sprinkled with mismanagement and poor organization of work and time.
So what should one do? Just hasten up more and keep going along with the momentum – only to realize that you are going nowhere? Or sit down with cup of coffee and a clear note pad and slow down to the core priorities that need to be taken care of?
Now the problem is: no matter how hard we try to slow down, we still kind of spill the beans while cooking them (weird analogy, but that’s what I can think of with respect to my status quo).
Welcome to the chaos of today’s work culture. I remember quoting myself on my Facebook profile: the chaos of professionalism can never beat the passion of naïve. But would alter it a bit and say that the chaos of speed can never beat the mindfulness of the moment – in arriving at a pace that makes a person cope up with speed while being slow.
- Accept that you are busy. And accelerate. You need to know your limitations – understand the fact that you are a human and not a micro chip that processes thousands of bytes of information in a fraction of seconds. You only have 24 hours in a day and you can only function for a limited period of time. You need to be empathetic with your work schedule and your will power, which would eventually be tampered if you don’t think through your priorities.
- Don’t confuse busyness with productivity. The world we are living is delusional. We think if we are busy, we are getting the desired results for the company. However, sometimes, we are just chaotic and irrationally exuberant for blathering or talking too much – and not getting things done. (You know what I mean.)While we all know that we are busy, but we never figure out the why. What is keeping our lion’s share of time in tasks – do they serve the purpose? Are they inching us closer to our targets? Align your purpose with the key business targets.
- Carve out 30 minutes of think time. Whether you are a night owl or a 5am early bird – whatever category you belong to, take out 30 uninterrupted minutes just to plan for the expected and the unexpected chores for the day. Assign all the tasks in the order of urgency and importance and delegate the rest. Remember: we all have limited willpower and our stamina and initiative kind of slows down if we invest our energy in the not-so-important tasks. In short: align time with your energy and measure your ROE at the end of the day to determine if you were successful n carrying out the to-do list as per your plan.
- Start slower to get faster results. Build a base for yourself by slowly getting the most arduous tasks knocked down from your list; it builds a momentum and sets the tone for the day. Secret sauce: do the most demanding task as slowly as possible. It increases your concentration and your focal point for the day. Your goal should be to give quality results to the organization instead of having abundant unattended things that need to be ticked off – and still not finding gratification after accomplishing this feat. So: negotiate for your workload with your boss and arrive at a middle ground to do full justice to your key responsibility areas.
To sum up: invest in the moment; be mindful of the very purpose of your work – instead of getting through the day. Slow down to understand the definition of speed – and work towards getting closer to it.