So, off to the races I go… Trying to make it happen and look good doing it.
On occasion, I remind my assistant to block time for me to have nothing to do, or even to go home a little early. (That’s right, I schedule time to be unscheduled.) It is during these times that I am reminded that better can be more impactful than more.
In other words, when I have time to think, speak informally with colleagues or to focus on making progress or completing just a single project it seems to advance my work further than when I am multi-tasking furiously.
That’s often counter to the demands that are placed on us at work. Emails are flying, the phone is ringing, someone’s at your door, and your next meeting is waiting. It may seem that after 5:30 and weekends are the only time you can get any work done.
If you find that to be the case, then you can help make my point. Better, not more.
In fact, I think that better is more, and that better can be faster too.
Consider the project that you are working on, the letter that you need to write, or the strategy that you need to craft. Taking the time to block out distractions and focus on getting to the next milestone can take a weight off your shoulders, free up space on your mental “C drive” and move you forward. It may even be that the ball advances further with less resistance; the product you’ve developed is cleaner, better thought-out, and more complete – better – because you gave it the focused effort it deserved.
Remember that conversation you had with a teammate (or a spouse) yesterday? You were multi-tasking and only half-listening – because you were trying to get more done. How did that work out for you?
Maybe it worked out just fine, but I’ve often found that when it matters most, it doesn’t go so hot.
I didn’t hear all of the relevant information. My instructions weren’t clear. My colleagues proceed without full understanding or agreement. Something goes wrong… And then I want to blame someone else, when I should be pointing the finger at myself.
At work this can cost money and it almost always costs time. Even more at home.
Your dad used to tell you to do one thing at a time. So why don’t we remember that better is often more – and faster too.