Another game of putting things aside As if we’ll come back to them some time A brace of hope a pride of innocence And you would say something has gone wrong – Something’s Always Wrong – Toad the Wet Sprocket
Note – I started writing this post in April and had to leave it and come back to it. That’s both a meta-commentary and a sign of how painful this topic is to me.
I went through a bit of organizational hell a month or soseveral months ago a year-and-a-half-ago- I converted my Time Management system from its previous mish-mash of Outlook, Google to-do lists, email in-box etc. to a new mish-mash organized by Evernote and inspired by this article from Lifehacker about how to use it with David Allen’s Getting Things Done system.
And it’s sorta working. It’s a big improvement, I think. Outlook’s task list is terrible, Google’s is worse, and I’d been using them to enforce this bifurcation in my work life and personal/side-business life that was tying me in knots.
In the spirit of this series on LinkedIn, I offer you a tale of a five month hiatus from the family business I worked in when I was younger.
For years, a marketing professor who had acted as sort of a mentor to me when I was in school had been encouraging me to apply at a business in the telecom industry where he’d done some consulting work. He told me:
the owner had a very hands-on management style (that certainly proved to be true).
they valued individuality.
they were looking for people who could produce long-term results.
The job was to work on the telephone and e-mail about three weeks per month, and travel all over the country at least one week – increasing volume at existing customers and prospecting for new ones. After an extensive series of interviews, including one with the owner himself, I was hired. The rigorousness of the hiring process, along with the persona recommendation of a friend, made me feel that the job would definitely be a good fit.
I hate to admit it, but after ten years in e-commerce I very nearly fell for a message similar to this a few months ago. It’s a slightly slicker variation on the various e-mail schemes that are out there, mainly distinguished by asking for something specific that the company I work for sells (custom imprinted USB drives):
From: [Bogus Company] [mailto:[deleted]@ gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, May 03, 2013 1:42 PM
To: Gary Smith
Subject: Swivel USB Drives
We wanted to place an order for 1000 Pcs each 4 GB and 8 GB Swivel style USB Drives One color/One location Imprint through your store or suppliers. Please let us know if you can get any of these items including the lead time and your payment methods.
The AOPA regards “Get-There-Itis” as a syndrome that “claims the lives of dozens of pilots and their passengers yearly.” My own term “Get-It-Done-Itis” isn’t quite as serious (nor does it roll off the tongue half as well), so I don’t know if it will catch on. But it’s a syndrome that has weakened quite a few work days for me, and maybe you.
I’m a morning person, which means that I tend to wake up before the alarm and go through the transition from bedraggled sleeper to productive citizen with a certain impatience. I’m checking the calendar, to-do list, work and personal e-mails, eating, showering, dressing – all with a certain mania to Get It Done – getting the trivial or necessary-but-not-productive stuff out of the way so I can tackle the Big Thing on my Agenda While It’s All So Fresh in My Mind. If I could figure out how to do all that “small stuff” that stands between me and putting my feet on the floor in my bedroom and putting my hands on the keyboard in my office at once, I’d probably do it. That’s how stuff like this gets sold.
So that’s good, right? If you play your cards well and you beat that traffic light at Cobbs Ford Rd. and the Bypass, you’ll be an hour ahead of everyone and can clear the decks without interruption – why is that motorcycle cop waving at me?
Get-There-Itis creates dangerous conditions and is fed by impatience. Get-It-Done-Itis works in a similar way:
I just recently moved, and the best thing about it, besides picking up 500 more square feet and a garage, is that I FOUND ABOUT 15 MISSING CDs! When I did the “load all the CDs into my iPod maneuver” earlier this year, I’d had the nagging feeling I was missing some. In fact, I knew for a fact I was, but I couldn’t put my hands on them. In the course of unpacking boxes, I found them. iTunes library complete!
In other news, I can now put my hands on all my books, too.
Tonight we’re in Auburn, having wrapped up the first day of the Leadership Autauga Retreat. Or should I say night. The group got here in time to check in and get dinner, followed by some team-building exercises by Keith Duck which served to break the ice. Grown-ups don’t get enough chances to do silly things to really get to know each other, and Keith does a great job of bringing the ideas, the props, and the enthusiasm which gets everyone on a first-name basis in a matter of hours.
And then I had to take over and do left-brain stuff – we did a quick overview of LA’s history and purpose, followed by a brief brain-storming session about potential projects.
We’ll hit it again tomorrow with some discussion about leadership and personality traits, led by Kimmie Ellis.