|Learn the purpose behind the chart and the Blackberry.
Ah-Ha! Moment – As I wrote last month, I came into September with many Urgent AND Important projects, and then I picked up several NEW ones! So, I did what was necessary – I made a conscious decision to go "out of balance" and do "whatever it takes" to get on top of these projects. Despite my best efforts, I barely made a dent in things ... or so it seemed.
Entering October, I renewed my decision to go "out of balance" for another month. As the month progressed, I came to realize how much I had done last month to set up successes this month. In late October, I felt I was FINALLY getting on top of ALL these projects!
- I moved one project forward and put the ball in another person's court.
- I completed a near-final draft on a lengthy report for a not-for-profit agency.
- I addressed a key internal issue in my firm.
Working on those three projects gave me a sense of accomplishment, yet they were not fun – still, my self-discipline made me get them done. Fortunately, two other projects were fun!
- I figured out what was causing our web content management system to not deliver expected results.
- I got a key client project to a state of completion which enabled me to finally delegate large blocks of work to my staff.
In both instances, I had done a lot of pre-work to create conditions to generate lots of ideas – I had invested a lot of time with my staff over several days to get clear on the REAL issue, and then devoted large blocks of after-hours focused time alone in my office to dig deeply, think about what I learned, and repeatedly dig and think some more. Finally, I had the "ah-ha moment!" – I found both the issue's root cause and its solution, and quickly devised some HIGHLY creative ways to present my insights to my staff!
I told a friend how much time I had spent on these two projects, and also mentioned how quickly the time passed – she said, "Todd, that's because you were in 'flow' – you were fully immersed in tasks which played to your strengths, so you performed your best and enjoyed every minute of it!"
Lesson learned? Going "out of balance" is draining, yet when things finally come together, being in "flow" is an incredible reward!