One day, quite some time ago, I spoke with a seminar participant after a one-day workshop. He smiled and the first thing he said to me was, "You're out of your mind!" Now, knowing what I know, and sharing the information I do, I was preparing for what could have possibly come next.
You see, my main message to audiences around the world is that it is possible to stay inspired, engaged, and focused while living and working in a world of unlimited opportunity. Each time the phone rings, and each time you “check your E-mail” you have significant choices to make about how you spend your time.
It is what you DO with your time that impacts your time management.
It is not time management that impacts what you DO with your time.
I checked his expression and he was still smiling, then he said, "and I think it's incredible. All day long you've demonstrated how to be focused, present and effective. Thank you."
It turned out that while I talked about writing everything down as I think of it, he was going through a similar process capturing action item after action item; all of them stored in his short-term memory. When he saw how much he was thinking about, he said, he wanted to use these methods even more!
I've thought about this a bit, and so far I keep realizing being "out of my mind" is a good thing.
It doesn't mean I'm overly organized, Type A, or (on the other hand) completely disciplined; it's quite the opposite! Wherever I am, that's where I want to be. I want the freedom to do nothing. And, I want to enjoy it. However, that liberty has a price - knowledge work on the front end to enjoy the peace on the back end.
I first became aware of the philosophy of self-management in 1994, when a mentor gave me a “book that would help me prioritize.” Since then I've studied, learned and honed the skills I believe we all need to survive today's work/life climate. We must:
- focus on something important
- refocus on interruptions as they come up
- handle volumes of unclarity
- reprioritize based on changing data
- and ... stay sane at the same time.
So, for those of you out there doing too much, with not a lot of time, energy or focus to handle it ... what are some tricks that work for you?