My colleague Kim Fabian and I were presenting a program last week and talking about the challenge of the on-going push and pull between home and work. We all juggle and our commitments and responsibilities all vie for the finite amount of time and attention that we have.
There are the things we need to do; the things we want to do; and let’s not forget the things that other people need and want from us.
You might have a partner who would like to spend some social time with you. The household has errands for upkeep – the groceries don’t walk themselves into the house! If you live with children, depending on their ages, you might have some involvement on the parenting front. Involved in community service? Have they asked you to also serve on a committee yet? Not to worry – it’s in your future!
Your boss has needs and plans and you’re involved in them. Got your own business? If you have 10 clients, you have 10 bosses! They are unique and special – and often think they are the only client you have.
The things you enjoy and want to do – the hobby, the book club, the class on speaking Italian require time and if you are learning to play golf, you’ll need more than an hour or two at the driving range once a month.
Don’t forget about upkeep. Exercise needs at least 30 minutes three times a week to be worth doing it at all. Unless you envision yourself as Cher in the earliest part of her career, you need to get your hair cut a haircut. The dentist and the eye doctor want to see you regularly too.
Then add in the pressure of layoffs and cutbacks and combine it with technology that allows you to be connected 24/7. No wonder people feel like they have too much going on. We add more and more to our day without cutting anything out. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t seem like an option – and when someone else is getting it all taken care of AND smiling, it makes us think that there is a magical way to handle it all with panache.
So we were quite surprised when a program participant raised her hand and said that in her new job, they wouldn’t give her a Blackberry for 6 months. The folks at her new firm wanted her to learn the job first. Someone had determined that the best way to focus on success at work would be to start the job with as few distractions as possible. She could thoroughly learn the systems and procedures, understand the processes, develop relationships with the people, delve into the strategic goals and direction and focus on what was required to do the job well BEFORE grabbing the technology that connected her 24/7 so that she could do the job well!
We reflected on this after the program and while amazed and delighted at the simple, practical logic.
First you learn to drive – THEN you get the car. First you get all of the ingredients into the house – THEN you make the meal. First learn how to do the job – THEN do it.
Sometimes you should go slow first – in order to go fast later. Rather than bank on speed – this company is banking on success.