Do you remember what life was like when workloads were more human-scale? When two one-hour meetings in one day was an unusual load? When one department worked on one project until it was complete, and only then would they start another? We all have too much to do these days. Some of us have no other experience of work. Others have forgotten what "enough to do" was like. Here are some reminders, expressed as what life would be like if we all one day had enough to do — and not more.
- When you get a great idea about something that isn't extremely urgent, you have time to make a note of it before you forget it.
- When you get a great idea, you sometimes set aside whatever you're doing to think about the great idea. Is it really a great idea? What are its implications?
- At quitting time, you actually go home for the day.
- When you go home for the day, you don't feel guilty.
- When you arrive at home, you don't have the urge to snap at the first person you meet there (especially important for those who live alone).
- Weekends last two entire days.
- Vacation days don't accumulate because you actually use them.
- You never lose vacation days due to expiration.
- You no longer worry about burnout for yourself or the people you supervise.
- When something unexpected happens in one project, it's much easier to reschedule others to accommodate it.
- You spend so much time at home that your kids seem to grow up more gradually.
- You eat a lot less take-out.
- It's been a long time since you had to reschedule a medical or dental appointment, or jury duty.
- Sometimes entire days go by without your having forgotten to do anything important.
- Once in a while, you actually complete an item on your to-do list without interruption.
- Some days — not many, but enough — your to-do list actually gets shorter.
- You rarely fail to return the phone calls you want to return.
- Most of the time you get through one day's incoming messages, mail, and email before the next day starts.
- You Sometimes entire days go by
without your having forgotten
to do anything importantrecently read a book. For fun.
- You have much less need to multitask, which is good, because multitasking never really worked as well as you thought it did.
- You've re-learned how to monotask almost as well as you could when you were four years old.
- For some time now, you haven't felt that nagging urge to get better at time management.
- You have space for serendipity — when a rare opportunity comes along, you have time to take advantage of it.
Are your projects always (or almost always) late and over budget? Are your project teams plagued by turnover, burnout, and high defect rates? Turn your culture around. Read 52 Tips for Leaders of Project-Oriented Organizations, filled with tips and techniques for organizational leaders. Order Now!
Your comments are welcomeWould you like to see your comments posted here? rbrenogMhuqCxAnbfLvzbner@ChacigAthhhYwzZDgxshoCanyon.comSend me your comments by email, or by Web form.
About Point Lookout
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed it and found it useful, and that you'll consider recommending it to a friend.
This article in its entirety was written by a human being. No machine intelligence was involved in any way.
Support Point Lookout by joining the Friends of Point Lookout, as an individual or as an organization.
Do you face a complex interpersonal situation? Send it in, anonymously if you like, and I'll give you my two cents.
More articles on Personal, Team, and Organizational Effectiveness:
- The Mind Reading Trap
- When we think, "Paul doesn't trust me," we could be fooling ourselves into believing that
we can read his mind. Unless he has directly expressed his distrust, we're just guessing, and we can
reach whatever conclusion we wish, unconstrained by reality. In project management, as anywhere else,
that's a recipe for trouble.
- Asking Brilliant Questions
- Your team is fortunate if you have even one teammate who regularly asks the questions that immediately
halt discussions and save months of wasted effort. But even if you don't have someone like that, everyone
can learn how to generate brilliant questions more often. Here's how.
- Tactics for Asking for Volunteers: I
- CEOs, board chairs, department heads and team leads of all kinds sometimes seek people to handle specific,
time-limited tasks. Asking the group for volunteers works fine — usually. There are alternatives.
- The Perils of Piecemeal Analysis: Content
- A team member proposes a solution to the latest show-stopping near-disaster. After extended discussion,
the team decides whether or not to pursue the idea. It's a costly approach, because too often it leads
us to reject unnecessarily some perfectly sound proposals, and to accept others we shouldn't have.
- Coping with Layoff Survival
- Your company has just done another round of layoffs, and you survived yet again. This time was the most
difficult, because your best pal was laid off, and you're even more fearful for your own job security.
How can you cope with survival?
Forthcoming issues of Point Lookout
- Coming December 13: Contrary Indicators of Psychological Safety: I
- To take the risks that learning and practicing new ways require, we all need a sense that trial-and-error approaches are safe. Organizations seeking to improve processes would do well to begin by assessing their level of psychological safety. Available here and by RSS on December 13.
- And on December 20: Contrary Indicators of Psychological Safety: II
- When we begin using new tools or processes, we make mistakes. Practice is the cure, but practice can be scary if the grace period for early mistakes is too short. For teams adopting new methods, psychological safety is a fundamental component of success. Available here and by RSS on December 20.
I offer email and telephone coaching at both corporate and individual rates. Contact Rick for details at rbrenogMhuqCxAnbfLvzbner@ChacigAthhhYwzZDgxshoCanyon.com or (650) 787-6475, or toll-free in the continental US at (866) 378-5470.
Get the ebook!
Past issues of Point Lookout are available in six ebooks:
- Get 2001-2 in Geese Don't Land on Twigs (PDF, )
- Get 2003-4 in Why Dogs Wag (PDF, )
- Get 2005-6 in Loopy Things We Do (PDF, )
- Get 2007-8 in Things We Believe That Maybe Aren't So True (PDF, )
- Get 2009-10 in The Questions Not Asked (PDF, )
- Get all of the first twelve years (2001-2012) in The Collected Issues of Point Lookout (PDF, )
Are you a writer, editor or publisher on deadline? Are you looking for an article that will get people talking and get compliments flying your way? You can have 500-1000 words in your inbox in one hour. License any article from this Web site. More info