Sunday, September 23, 2012

Time is everything

"By (the Token of) Time (through the ages),
Verily Man is in loss,
Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds,
and (join together) in the mutual teaching of Truth,
and of Patience and Constancy."

Time is everything.

Sometimes we have all of it in the world to go around. Finishing your degree, traveling to the arctic, settling down... And sometimes we're limited where we have less than 24 hours to find 57 conforming products and ship them to our customer. But what is it about time that make people impatient? It can go really slowly if some things know you're not ready for it.

Let's stop and look at the date: 23SEP12. Okay- where did the scorching hot months of AZ go? Where did my summer go? Is it already midterm season at ASU? But what needs to happen now? What deadlines are critical to our future and the success of our organization? Organizing my closet by style and color after donating to goodwill? No. Skydiving off a perfectly good plane over the deserts of AZ? No. Finding a dress for my cousins wedding? No. Finishing my book on what I've learned in leadership? No. Getting engaged to the man I found myself most compatible with? No, not even that.

In today's world we need to recognize the goals and when they need to be met. Our actions need to continue to be value added to those goals or else we're not being productive. Everything has its time indeed but it takes people with great expertise to recognize when to complete an action and when to say: this can wait. Leaders and individual contributors struggle because they think they have to do it all. Well, they do. You can't get out of it but it's about when you do (and sometimes how) that makes you feel accomplished and less overwhelmed at the end of the day. Professor in industrial engineering operations research department asked me yesterday 'wow how do you manage your time' after stating I was a technical supervisor at Medtronic completing my masters. My answer "I don't." we laughed and my answer should have finished with "I don't. I manage my goals."

For example, I completed my graduate path of study last fall. Put in a few courses and set the date of May 2013 to graduate. This past May, I looked at what was left for my thesis and was surprised to see how close I was to completing it and defending it in November. But then actions and deadlines and goals happened at work and around the family. And for the first time in my life, I was okay with saying no, my thesis can wait until May. These other items were too critical and had goals that needed to be met.

The purpose of this blog is for you to stop and see what you're working on. Where is your time being spent? My manager always asks me- what are you working on? And I gave him tasks. It took me about 14 months or more, of him asking that question for me to answer with goals.

My answer used to be- write this document, talk to this person, guide on this project, check the status of this product.... Yeah- task oriented.
Where now (on most days) it's- support the campus document closure goal, achieve talent development objectives, improve application of DMAIC, support supply of production goals - strategically oriented, right? That's all it took for me to start seeing what it was I was actually working on and whether or not it mattered.

So why am I writing this today? Because I lost my strategic glasses last week. Was caught up in the moment and thought something had to happen now. Defied my instincts and went with other forces around me to make a decison. No goals were impacted during this time. All of my customers had pacemakers to implant for their patients and I am still hovering around an A and a B for my classes. What happened? I may have lost a good friend for starters and worst of all- may be in jeopardy of doubting myself in the future.

Knowing what has to happen now versus later is critical to your success. You can easily get burnt out focusing on everything at once. There's a time and place for everything and knowing when to utilize that time will make or break you. And remember- this applies to work, school and most of all family & friends. Don't lose time over things you think have to happen. And above all- Don't lose the most important objectives you truly live for.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this blog. It made me stop and think about what I'm doing and what I should be focusing on instead. Thank you for a great lesson!