Priority One – Prioritization
Having wandered into the office a little bit later than normal on this Monday before the 4th of July, the first thing on my mind this morning was "What do I need to accomplish today?" The office will be, for the most part, empty, which just means the volume of music flowing out of my office will be that much louder.
As I do on most mornings where I don’t immediately jump onto a conference call with a client, I logged into my blog aggregator to read a bit about what is happening out in the blogosphere. Having made the jump from small company and consultant to massive company this spring, the one constant has been the content I consume. Which once again led me to Seth Godin’s blog — and his latest blurb on "overhauling your agenda."
It’s amazing to look back at the past 3 months and see the changes in how I manage my day: I went from a people manager of 14 to a sole contributor, from a $200M company to a multi-billion corporation, and from an ad hoc environment to process oriented. Wow, what a change. I now have to work inside clearly defined steps to ensure my tasks and projects coincide and support other teams, my business unit, and the company at large.
And yet, when it comes down to how I structure my day and break up the tasks in front of me, I’ve come to realize that not much has changed in how I work. Even in my personal life, I’ve always been one to step back and organize my larger goals into actionable steps, breaking them into pieces that I could accomplish on weeknights, and over weekends. Sometimes it takes a lot of patience, but in the end I am generally happier with the results when I’ve taken the time required to do things the right way, step by step.
The same philosophy applies to how I work. Of course there are times when requests come in late or some piece of critical data cannot be added or validated until 5 minutes prior to delivery, but for the most part my days are filled with a punch list of tasks, all of them chipping away at larger goals that roll into project tactics, which filter up into business unit initiatives, and drive toward those overall company strategies.
Do I really need to overhaul my agenda? I don’t think so — I don’t believe my approach to work each day has anything to do with the actual content/projects/work streams I manage. Even if I changed my role/job/industry, I think I’d approach things very much the same way.
How different is my approach from the way others work? Do you regularly evaluate yourself and the way you manage you workload? Are you evaluating your performance on a regular basis? Most importantly, can you see how your work directly fulfills business needs? If not, maybe you do need an overhaul.