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Where Are Your Edges?

Picture life 100 years ago. People went to work and did a ‘thing’. They worked at the office, dug a ditch, built a widget… then they came home and were AT HOME. A homemaker did her chores, cared for the children, cooked and created for her family and even though her work never really ended, when the husband and children came home from work and school, her day shifted significantly. Her work was now attending to the family in a very different way than during her work day.

Do we still have such clear boundaries anymore? Thanks to cell phones that travel with us, computers that make telecommuting a norm, and even video capabilities that allow distance to become immaterial literally 24×7. We are available to plug in every single moment of the day and night. Even medicine can be practiced from the other side of the globe. Working at home in your pajamas is as normal as pouring a cup of coffee from your own pot in your own kitchen while you conference with professionals in another country at 3 a.m.

How do we organize that!?

If time and location are no longer relevant, then what is? What is manageable? What do you have control over?

  • Time? You can’t manage or control time and create 6 minutes out of 5.
  • Information and Data? You can’t manage information or you’d walk into a library and die of overload.
  • Priorities? You can’t manage priorities, you have priorities. They don’t change because you manage them into importance.

The only thing you can personally manage is your Actions and Responses to Time, Information and Priorities. You can train yourself to learn to do what you should be doing when you should be doing it.

What good is it to gather all the information to complete that top priority report that you only have 24 hours to finish if you are sitting at your son’s baseball game without computer access? And what will you miss by fretting yourself over the report throughout the game and don’t notice when he hits his first home run?¬†

The first step to managing your actions appropriately is to learn how to identify what they are. What are the two projects in the scenario above? What are the goals of each? What does accomplishment look like for each? WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP TO GET FROM DOING TO DONE?

Most projects look completely overwhelming¬†and undoable because we are busy looking at all the big things we have to accomplish. And now we don’t have tidy boxes of time to sort them into anymore to help us. Everything needs to be done all at the same time! Or does it?

How do you eat an elephant? One. Bite. At. A. Time.

“Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because what “doing” would look like, and where it happens, hasn’t been decided.” David Allen

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