Do you ever wonder where the day went? Do you ever
look back at a month and struggle to think of
anything substantial you accomplished? What ever
happened to that big idea you had? Whatever happened
to your dreams? Are you doing whatís important, or
are you just doing? Here are ten things that might
be killing your day, your monthÖmaybe even your
Meetings are a necessary evilÖor are they? How
many meetings can you eliminate every week? How
many are absolutely necessary? What could you be
doing if you werenít in a meeting? Is a meeting
a valuable and productive type of work? Or is it
just another interruption?
Talk to most project managers, especially the
PMPs of the world (no offense), and theyíll tell
you all about the project plan. They update the
plan and they report on the plan (in another
meeting) and they make pretty gantt and
waterfall charts with the plan. Is a project
plan important? Sure it is, but only to know
who is going to do what by when.
Seth Godin said thereís a big difference between
running and managing a project. Please
Early in my career, I was assigned a
documentation project for a client. It involved
documenting business processes as they related
to their software system. It was a fabulous
document. It had screenshots and how-toís and
departmental considerations. It was hundreds of
(digital) pages long and it was expensive. And
nobody ever used it. Just like they never used
the documentation that came with their iPod or
camera or mobile phone. Just like they never
used the instructions that came with their
lawnmower or grill or printer. Documentation is
that set of binders and books in your office
that you never look at. Donít let the lack of it
stop you from shipping.
Emails are micro-meetings. Theyíre another
interruption that kills your productivity. Some
emails are important. Some emails are urgent.
Few are both.
Twitter is awesome. I love Twitter. I love
checking my lists and seeing my replies. I love
joining in on conversations about topics Iím
passionate about. I love the relationships Iíve
been able to forge because of it. But none of
that makes Twitter a path to my dreams. Twitter
is a firehose of interruptions. Itís a constant
stream of gobbly-gook that I constantly have to
filter. Constantly. Donít worry, I still love
you Twitter, but I may need a bigger filter.
Iíve mentioned my RSS habits before. I fully
understand how distracting a page full of unread
articles can be. Feedly (and Zite and Flipboard
and Circa and Pulse) tempts me with its unread
count on a daily basis. My advice is to use that
Mark All As Read button more often. Itís kinda
scary, but you feel good after you do it.
I once asked an employee what he had worked on
the previous week. His answer was, ďMarket
research.Ē I no longer have to ask that employee
any questionsÖif you get my drift.
Itís Facebook, need I say more?
Nobody ever got knocked for sharpening the saw.
A well-organized conference can be a valuable
networking and learning experience, but they
should be attended in moderation. Hopping on a
plane and spending thousands of dollars (whether
itís yours or the companyís is beside the point)
to attend a conference every month is
ridiculous, especially since most of the good
stuff is published online now.
This kind of goes with the topic above. A
certification can be very worthwhile and
beneficial to your career, but donít get carried
away. You donít need to be a CPA to understand
financial statements, you donít need a PMP to
manage a project, and you donít need to be a Six
Sigma black belt to help someone successfully
manage a business. All of those might help you
at some point in your career, but what else
could you be doing with all of those hours?
This post is as much for me (maybe more) as it is
for you. Below is one video that inspired this post
and deserves watching.